Israel PM: Rouhani's Ruse Deception not Diplomacy

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- President Barack Obama met Monday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, only days after a historic phone call between Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Netanyahu urged the president not to lift the economic sanctions in place against the Islamic Republic. For his part, Obama said he's not taking any options off the table in his efforts to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

The Israeli prime minister speaks before the United Nations on Tuesday, where he hopes to convince the world that Iran remains a threat. On the eve of his visit, he delivered a sobering message.

"I will tell the truth in the face of the sweet-talk and the onslaught of smiles," he said as he prepared to board the plane.

"One must talk facts and one must tell the truth," he said.

Netanyahu referred to the charm offensive by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who's assuring Western media and diplomats that Iran's nuclear program poses no threat to the West.

But Netanyahu may face opposition from the Obama administration following last week's bombshell announcement: President Obama said he called Rouhani.

The call marked the first time a U.S. president has talked with an Iranian president in more than three decades.

Here in Israel, many analysts still see Iran as an existential threat. They're skeptical about Rouhani's charm offensive and leery about the Obama administration's decision to deal directly with Iran. They believe it is more deception than diplomacy.

"We prefer diplomacy," former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Zalman Shoval said. "The problem is the way the Iranians are actually behaving."

Iranian expert Menashe Amir said Iran's ideology hasn't changed.

"Destruction of Israel is only the first phase to confront the Western civilization and when the Iranian regime speaks about Western civilization, they mean Christianity," Amir told CBN News.

"According to the Iranian belief, Christianity is based on Judaism," he continued. "So first they want to destroy Israel, which is the symbol of Judaism, and [then] they want to confront Christianity. That's a fact that people in the Western countries either don't know or they ignore it."

If Rouhani is using charm to delay the West while Iran gets closer to a nuclear weapons capability, it could make it even more dangerous for Israel.

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Chris Mitchell

Chris Mitchell

CBN News Middle East Bureau Chief

In a time where the world's attention is riveted on events in the Middle East, CBN viewers have come to appreciate Chris Mitchell's timely reports from this explosive region of the world. Mitchell brings a Biblical and prophetic perspective to these daily news events that shape our world.