Anne Gearan and Craig Whitlock
Oct. 3, 2013
Rapprochement with Iran won’t come at the expense of Israel’s security or its relationship with the United States, top Obama administration officials said Thursday, but they added that it would be “diplomatic malpractice” not to explore whether Iran’s nuclear program can be defused peacefully.
The forceful defense of engagement made by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Secretary of State John F. Kerry during a visit here with their Japanese counterparts was the first high-level U.S. answer to a blistering rebuke delivered Tuesday by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Israeli leader warned that the West is being fooled by the new, friendlier face of Iranian leadership that is being offered by President Hassan Rouhani.
“I did not interpret Prime Minister Netanyahu’s comments as suggesting that we are being played somehow for suckers,” Kerry said. “I understood it to be a warning: Don’t be played.”