Netanyahu and Iran’s Leaders: A Look at the Record

Letter to the Editor of The New York Times.

Re “Bibi’s Tired Iranian Lines” (column, Oct. 4):

Roger Cohen, in his unjustified diatribe directed at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, chooses to ignore that the supreme leader of Iran, not President Hassan Rouhani, makes the decisions on Iran’s nuclear program, and the supreme leader has given no real indication of any change in policy. Indeed, even Mr. Rouhani declared on his return from the United Nations that the right to nuclear technology and enrichment is “not negotiable.” 

President Rouhani has a bad track record. As Mr. Netanyahu noted in his speech, Mr. Rouhani published a book about the period when he was Iran’s chief negotiator and described how he misled and deceived the world as Iran surreptitiously continued to develop its nuclear program.

Iran does not need to enrich uranium to have the civilian nuclear program it claims to want. Seventeen countries, including Canada and Spain, have such programs and do not enrich uranium.

Prime Minister Netanyahu, in his Bar Ilan speech in 2009, publicly embraced the two-state solution and has repeatedly said he is prepared to meet at any time and any place without preconditions in pursuit of that goal. He has embraced Secretary of State John Kerry’s initiative and, to ensure that it would go forward, made the painful decision to release many Palestinian terrorists with blood on their hands.

Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons poses a severe threat to the national security interests of the United States as it does to the Mideast region. We would welcome a true diplomatic solution that removes the threat of Iran’s capacity to develop a nuclear weapon.

New York, Oct. 6, 2013


The writers are, respectively, chairman and executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

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