WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — Hold off on that thawing. Iran’s foreign minister criticizes President Barack Obama following his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House.
Mohammad Javad Zarif accused Obama on Twitter of flip-flopping and said his threats were “illegal.”
“President Obama needs consistency to promote mutual confidence. Flip flop destroys trust and undermines US credibility,” Zarif tweeted.
The Iranian foreign minister continued: “Pres.Obama’s presumption that Iran is negotiating because of his illegal threats and sanctions is disrespectful of a nation, macho and wrong.”
Obama and Netanyahu met at the White House Monday as the Israeli prime minister is in the U.S. to speak before the United Nations General Assembly.
Netanyahu told Obama that the U.S. must keep its sanctions in place against Iran, despite the Islamic republic’s outreach.
“If diplomacy is to work, those pressures must be kept in place,” Netanyahu said.
Obama reiterated that military options were still on the table in case Iran moves forward with its nuclear program.
“Our hope is that we can resolve this diplomatically,” Obama said. “But as president of the United States, as I’ve said before and I will repeat, that we take no options off the table, including military options.”
Obama spoke by phone with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani Friday, the first direct conversation between a U.S. and Iranian leader in more than three decades.
Zarif also called Netanyahu a liar in remarks that were broadcast on Iranian state TV.
“This is his nature, to lie… Over the past 22 years, the regime, Israel, has been saying Iran will have nuclear arms in six months,” Zarif said. “The continuation of this game, in fact, is based on lying, deception, incitement and harassment.”
Iran has offered to open its nuclear facilities to international inspectors as part of broad negotiations with the United States but insists the nuclear program is its right and is for peaceful purposes only. The U.S., Israel and other allies have long accused Iran of seeking a bomb.
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