Obama Reaches Out To Iran, Israel

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International relations expert Yvonne Davis talks about President Barack Obama’s recent conversations with leaders from Iran and Israel.

Here’s the latest report from CNN:

Obama, Netanyahu meeting comes with baggage


By Leslie Bentz


WASHINGTON (CNN) — President Barack Obama once again finds himself in the middle of a high-stakes, tension-fraught meeting with a key leader from the Middle East.

Must be Monday.

Just days after a historic phone call between Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, the U.S. president is scheduled to meet with his Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu, at the White House late Monday morning.

The relationship between Obama and Netanyahu has been one of the more strained in the history of the two nations. Obama has come under criticism from some Israelis for what they perceive as a lack of enthusiasm towards pro-Israeli policies and interests.

In March, Obama made his first visit to Israel as president — a charm offensive to reassure Israelis that the United States is committed to its security.

This week will be a test on how the two leaders can work together.

The new diplomatic overtures between the United States and Iran will undoubtedly be a key topic.

As he boarded his flight to the United States for his meeting with Obama and his appearance at the U.N. General Assembly, Netanyahu threw cold water on the developments.

“I will tell the truth in the face of the sweet-talk and the onslaught of smiles,” he told reporters. “One must talk facts and one must tell the truth.”

Over the weekend, Israel said it arrested an Iranian-born man and accused him of spying for Tehran.

According to the Israeli government, the alleged spy was carrying photos of various sites, including the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv.

“His talks Monday with the president certainly will underline the fears here that the Iranians will use negotiations to stall for time,” CNN’s international correspondent Jim Clancy said.

“Israel is really worried that the words that broke the ice between Iran and the United States is going to heat up Tehran’s determination to advance its nuclear program,” he added.

“The prime minister will likely tell the world that while President Rouhani was smiling in New York, the centrifuges were still spinning back home in Iran. He will compare Iran to North Korea, which developed a bomb while talking peace. He will reveal intelligence data, and he will try to make the case that a state that sponsors terrorism, Iran, cannot be allowed to possess a nuclear weapon.”

In the latest indication of Tehran’s new approach to relations with Washington, Iran’s Fars News Agency reported that Rouhani wants to establish direct flights between Iran and the United States.

The news agency cited the head of the High Council of Iranian Affairs Abroad, Tarkan Sarparast, as saying that Rouhani had instructed him to look into how to establish direct flights between the two countries.

CNN’s Sara Mazloumsaki contributed to this report.

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