RJC: White House is Naive about Iran, Wrong on Israel

Washington, D.C. -- A White House official is quoted as making inaccurate and inflammatory statements about Israel during a conference call yesterday with think tanks and advocacy groups sympathetic to President Obama’s Iran proposal.

According to a report in JTA, the official agreed with a conference call participant’s statement that Israel’s position regarding the P5+1 negotiations with Iran - demanding a total halt to enrichment and the dismantling of all of Iran’s centrifuges - was a path to war. The official said that insisting that Iran take concrete steps to halt its efforts toward a nuclear weapon would “close the door on diplomacy” and “essentially lead to war.”

RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said:

“This White House misunderstands completely the intentions and determination of the mullahs who rule Iran. President Obama assumes that the Iranian leaders negotiate in good faith and will respond to positive incentives. That has never been the case.

“The Iranians want nuclear weapons and they have been working toward that goal with stealth and subterfuge for many years. Severe economic sanctions have had the most success in limiting Iran’s ability to move their nuclear weapons program forward. Sanctions must be tightened, not relaxed, to force Iran to end its development of nuclear weapons. President Obama’s plan will leave Iran with the time and the materials it needs to covertly continue its efforts and to break out a nuclear weapons capability in the near term.

“The White House must stop blaming Israel for speaking the truth to the international community about Iran. Yesterday’s comments from the administration official show again that this administration is naïve about Iran and putting daylight between the U.S. and Israel at a critical time.

“Israel has bravely taken a firm position on this question because the Israelis understand very clearly the existential threat that a nuclear Iran poses to them. Other American allies, including the Saudis and the French, also believe that Iran cannot be permitted to reach its nuclear weapons goal. A nuclear Iran would be a vastly destabilizing actor in the region, a direct threat to our Mideast and European allies, and a threat to energy resources upon which the entire Western world relies.

“Anything short of a complete dismantling of Iran’s nuclear program is what will lead to war.”