Middle East

US-Israeli talks on Iran spark mixed press response

Barack Obama speaks and Benjamin Netanyahu listens on
Image caption The two leaders are said to have a cool relationship

The Israeli press detects some common ground with the United States on the Iranian nuclear issue after talks between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House, while Iranian newspapers play down Mr Obama's comments as "propaganda".

Elsewhere papers express alarm at the prospect of a military escalation and warn that the Palestinian issue is being sidelined.


Orly Azulay in centrist, mass circulation Yediot Aharonot

"Obama demanded time of Netanyahu. He spoke of a few months. Netanyahu refused to commit himself but passed a calming message to the president according to which the decision to attack has not yet been taken. As far as the Americans are concerned, this is a commitment with which they can work."

Shmuel Rosner in centrist Ma'ariv

"'The United States will always back Israel,' Obama said at the start of his meeting with the prime minister... This is a signal to the Iranians not to rejoice at the American opposition to an attack. If Israel attacks, it does not mean that Israel will be abandoned. On the other hand, he warned that 'loose' talk about war could lead to higher oil prices - a hidden threat that Israel could be perceived by the Americans as directly responsible for hitting their pockets."

Shlomo Tzazneh in pro-Netanyahu Yisrael Hayom

"The biggest achievement of the meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama at the White House is the Israeli public statement, and the understanding with which it was received by the American side, that Israel has the right to defend itself alone - and against any threat."


Editorial in hard-line Jomhuri-ye Eslami

"The statements made by Barack Obama... about... a serious confrontation with the Islamic Republic of Iran, due to what he calls its nuclear activities and moving towards a nuclear weapon, are just propaganda... Essentially, Obama's threats are colourless statements which the Iranian people have been hearing for the last 33 years and which they have met with indifference."

Qasem Ghafuri in conservative Siyasat-e Ruz

"Obama's expression of anti-Iran positions is another indication of the defeat of US anti-Iran policies... at a time when the world has acknowledged that America's threats are ineffective and the extensive participation of the Iranian nation in the Majlis [Iranian parliament] elections is a clear indication of this defeat."

Palestinian press

Editorial in pro-Fatah Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds

"Undoubtedly, ignoring the Palestinian cause [in the US-Israeli talks] undermines the credibility of the US role in the peace process, particularly in light of the ongoing deterioration in the commitment of the US Administration to play an effective role in resolving the Palestinian cause on the basis of ending the Israeli occupation and establishing an independent Palestinian state... It also underlines again that Israel is not interested in the peace process and seeks to shed light on and exaggerate other regional issues such as the case of Iran."

Walid Mahmud in Hamas-run, Gaza-based Filastin

"[Obama] understands that his [election] victory depends on supporting 'Israel' and ensuring its military and strategic superiority. He personally believes in the sanctity of loyalty towards 'Israel' as well as in the need to support and protect it from any dangers it faces."


Urdu-language the Daily Express

"President Barack Obama has said that the US stands by Israel on the Iranian issue... It is the duty of the international community to oppose the US's one-sided attitude towards Israel. The international community should form an alliance to put the US on the right track, otherwise it will be hard to save the world from a disastrous clash."

Urdu-language pan-Islamist Ummat

"The US president has confessed that reports about war against Iran have benefited Iran, as the price of oil has increased manifold. Iran's nuclear programme is dependent on the income from oil. In this situation, the policy of saving Israel and maintaining its supremacy will come at a heavy price to the US."


Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

"But the goal to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East must continue to stand. Like other Western leaders, Obama has made it clear that this goal is not up for debate. That may calm Israeli nerves for the time being. But it does not resolve the conflict. The time for difficult decisions is drawing closer."

Bettina Vestring in the Berliner Zeitung

"By speaking of 'Israel's sovereign right to make its own decisions about what is required to meet its security needs', Obama has fulfilled the Israeli prime minister's most pressing wish. He has given Benjamin Netanyahu the green light for a possible air attack on Iran."

BBC Monitoringselects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.

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