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‘Sparks fly’ over US policy on Iran at meeting between Netanyahu and US envoy

Prime minister bashes Obama’s ineffectual stance, US Ambassador Shapiro says he’s misrepresenting president’s position, newspaper claims

Ilan Ben Zion, a reporter at the Associated Press, is a former news editor at The Times of Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with the US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, in Tel Aviv in 2011 (photo credit: Matty Stern/US Embassy/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with the US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, in Tel Aviv in 2011 (photo credit: Matty Stern/US Embassy/Flash90)

Tensions between the Israeli and United States governments reached fever pitch over the issue of Iran’s nuclear program in a recent high-level meeting between the prime minister and the American ambassador, Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Friday.

Last week Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened a closed-door meeting with visiting Congressman and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers and American Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro. Netanyahu opened the discussion by lambasting the Obama administration for what he considered its ineffectual policy vis à vis Iran.

Netanyahu then expressed his belief that the US should be pressuring Iran to stop its nuclear program rather than pressuring Israel not to attack.

“Instead of effectively pressuring Iran, Obama and his people are pressuring us not to attack the nuclear facilities,” he reportedly said. He concluded by saying that the time for diplomacy had run out, the Yedioth report said.

At one point during the meeting, Shapiro grew enraged by Netanyahu’s remarks, broke diplomatic protocol, and snapped at the PM, saying he was misrepresenting Obama’s position on Iran.

According to a source at the meeting, “sparks and lightning were flying.”

The US embassy did not comment on the Yedioth Ahronoth report.

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