WASHINGTON (JTA) — Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to Washington, urged the United States to “stay the course” and increase pressure on Iran amid reports that the Trump administration is open to diplomatic initiatives with the Islamic Republic.
“What is important now is to stay the course, stand up to Iran’s aggression and continue ratcheting up the pressure until Iran abandons its nuclear ambitions once and for all,” Dermer said Tuesday evening at a pre-Rosh Hashanah reception at the embassy. “Israel looks forward to working with the Trump administration to do just that in the year ahead.”
Dermer otherwise lavishly praised US President Donald Trump for his increased sanctions on Iran as well as for other moves, including moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem and recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
But his remarks came the day Trump ousted his national security adviser, John Bolton, for among other reasons opposing Trump’s openness to diplomatic engagement with Iran. Bloomberg on Wednesday reported that Bolton forcefully opposed a plan recently to reduce sanctions on Iran as a means of setting up a meeting later this month between Trump and the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to whom Dermer is close, opposes meetings between Trump and Iran’s leaders, seeing them as a win for Iran without having to give up anything.
Dermer did not mention Bolton’s departure except to joke that it was a “boring” news day.
Dermer also singled out for praise Trump’s outgoing top Middle East peace envoy, Jason Greenblatt, and Greenblatt’s replacement Avi Berkowitz, who were both present.
The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.
We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.
Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.