Obama Admin. Ignoring Allies on Iran Policy?

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- French President Francois Hollande's visit to Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is keeping up the rhetoric about Iran.

The French president's visit comes just days before the international community resumes its negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program.

During the last round, France would not agree to the terms set by the other nations, including the United States.

Is the Obama administration ignoring important allies on Iran? James Phillips, senior research fellow for Middle East affairs at the Heritage Foundation, addressed that question and more on Newswatch, Nov. 18.

France's stand is providing diplomatic support to Israel's efforts to prevent what Netanyahu calls "a good deal" for Iran and a bad deal for the world.

"It's clear that this agreement is good only for Iran and that it's really bad for the rest of the world," Netanyahu said. "Iran's dream deal is the world's nightmare."

"So today, I believe the choice is not between a bad deal and war; on the contrary, every day that passes, Iran is placed under greater economic pressure," he continued. "With patience, with determination, it's possible to get a good deal. That means keeping the pressure and ratcheting up the pressure."

Earlier at the prime minister's Jerusalem residence, Hollande said France has four prerequisites that must be met before signing an agreement:

  1. Suspend enriching uranium to 20 percent
  2. Reduce existing enriched uranium stockpiles
  3. End work at the plutonium reactor
  4. Agree to international oversight of its nuclear facilities

He also said Iran must assure the international community it had abandoned its nuclear weapons program.

Holland's words come as many in the U.S. Congress are looking to increase sanctions on Iran - a move President Barack Obama is trying to prevent.

The president will meet with Senate leaders Tuesday. He wants them to put any sanctions bill on hold before new talks on Iran's nuclear program.
    
Iranian officials have said that if Congress moves forward with any new sanctions, they will walk away from the negotiating table.

Meanwhile, the negotiations resume later this week in Geneva. At the same time, Netanyahu plans to travel to Moscow and lobby Russian President Vladimer Putin not to endorse the proposed agreement with Iran.

Also, in a rare interview, Israel's former national security advisor Amos Yadlin told the Financial Times that Israel has the ability to strike Iran alone and that Israel's air force has conducted "very long range flights…all around the world" in preparation.

"We have enough to stop the Iranians for a very long time. We are not bluffing. We are very serious," he added. "[We are] preparing ourselves for the possibility Israel will have to defend itself by itself."

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