Trump-Netanyahu tension? Israeli PM calls for Iran pressure but president says open to Rouhani meet

Just after Netanyahu said more pressure on Iran is needed, Trump said he “could meet” with Iran’s president.

By World Israel News Staff

Despite the latest disclosures by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday of Iran’s nuclear military program, President Donald Trump continues to pursue the possibility of holding a summit with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani.

“It could happen. It could happen. No problem with me,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

The anticipation is that Trump could meet with Rouhani on the sidelines of the opening of the U.N. General Assembly session in New York later in September.

The annual international get-together is known for offering an opportunity for high-level talks which otherwise might not take place.

However, just hours before Trump in Washington was reiterating his readiness to meet his Iranian counterpart, Netanyahu, in Israel revealed another secret nuclear site, which “was exposed in the archives that we brought from Tehran. In this site, Iran conducted experiments to develop nuclear weapons.”

The Israeli premier concluded his presentation by urging the international community to exert “pressure, pressure and more pressure” on Tehran and to support Trump’s sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Trump will take “tougher stance”

Last Thursday, Netanyahu delivered a similar message. On the one hand, he said that “this is not the time to hold talks with Iran; this is the time to increase the pressure on Iran.”

Later in the day, on the other hand, the prime minister said that he doesn’t “tell the president of the U.S. who he should meet and who he shouldn’t meet.”

Netanyahu added that he was “sure that Trump will take a much more open-eyed and a tougher stance against Iran,” a thinly-veiled swipe at Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, whose administration was involved in negotiating the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Observers have noted that Netanyahu’s concern is that despite his close relationship with Trump, the U.S. president has a penchant for unexpected, dramatic, and historic moves. Trump has shown high confidence in his own personal diplomacy.

An example is his approach in dealing with North Korea, meeting with that country’s leader Kim Jong-un and then, on short notice, because he was in the region, deciding to cross the DMZ into North Korea and shake Kim’s hand, stepping over the line as the cameras flashed.

Netanyahu is said to hope that Trump will be restrained by National Security Adviser John Bolton, a hawk on the issue of Iran.

Netanyahu’s presentation on Monday regarding Iran’s nuclear activity is widely seen in Israeli political circles as the 2019 version of his 2015 speech, also just before an Israeli election, in front of a joint session of the U.S. Congress on the dangers of the Iran nuclear deal, a few months before the accord was struck.

Then, he was acting against the wishes of President Barack Obama. Now, he believes that he has a far more sympathetic president in office, and ultimately, a U.S. president who would not stand in the way if Israel were to decide that it had no choice but to attack Iran.