Pathetic Netanyahu fails to fool the Russians over Iran

Netanyahu Moscow visit falls flat: Israeli media


Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu  take part in a joint press conference  in Moscow's Kremlin, on November 20, 2013.  AFP PHOTO/ POOL/ MAXIM SHEMETOV
Russia’s  President Vladimir Putin (R) and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu   take part in a joint press conference  in Moscow’s Kremlin, on November 20,  2013.  AFP PHOTO/ POOL/ MAXIM SHEMETOV

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM:  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Moscow  to push Russia  into taking a harder line on Iranian  nuclear negotiations has fallen flat, Israel’s media said on Thursday.

Netanyahu flew to  Moscow Wednesday in what was seen as a last-minute bid to  influence an emerging nuclear deal with Iran  strongly opposed by the Jewish state and  being discussed by world powers and Iranian diplomats in Geneva.

Right-leaning Maariv newspaper said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s  comments after meeting Netanyahu at best gave little away, and suggested the  Israeli premier’s visit had left no lasting impression.

“When the two men gave their joint press conference (Wednesday), it appeared  Putin’s statement had been given to journalists in advance, and he only changed  certain passages afterwards to make them more palatable to Netanyahu,” it  said.

Speaking as the talks got under way in Geneva  between  Iran and world powers, Putin only  said he hoped that “in the nearest future a mutually acceptable solution is  found” to end the crisis.

Top-selling Yediot Aharonot said Netanyahu’s visit to  Moscow was an  unnecessary “put-down” to the United States  after tension with Israel  over a possible  Iran deal.

“Every reader knows Putin supports and will continue to support the  ayatollahs’ regime in Iran,” Yediot said.

“If there’s the slightest chance of persuading world powers to take a harsher  line on Iran,  Israel should engage in discreet dialogue (with the US), instead  of bickering publicly with Washington,” it said.

And left-leaning daily Haaretz suggested Netanyahu’s visit was futile,  pointing out  Russia was traditionally much more closely aligned with the  Islamic republic than with other world powers.

“Russia, which built Iran’s first nuclear power plant and remains on better  terms with Tehran  than Western powers, has expressed less  suspicion than them about Iran’s nuclear work,” it said.

Netanyahu insisted on the need for a “real” solution to the Iranian nuclear  crisis, after his talks with Putin.

“We would all like a diplomatic solution, but it needs to be a real  solution,” said Netanyahu, adding that this would involve  Iran halting nuclear  work in the same way that Syria was allowing its chemical weapons arsenal to be  destroyed.

Iran would have to halt uranium enrichment, stop work on centrifuges, have  enriched uranium material taken out from  Iran and dismantle the Arak heavy  water reactor, he said.

“We think it is possible to get a better agreement but that requires  determination,” Netanyahu warned.

Israel, the region’s sole if undeclared nuclear-armed state, has not ruled  out the use of force against the Iranian atomic drive.

Tehran says its nuclear programme is purely for peaceful  purposes.


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