-- March 5, 2012- Obama and Netanyahu Meet on Iran

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Israel Update
A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

March 5, 2012- Obama and Netanyahu Meet on Iran

I am reluctant to write tonight's column. I have tried over the years to inform my readers with facts, and some observations. Tonight I do not want to go into the realm of fiction. Since I was not present at the face-to-face meeting between Obama and Netanyahu, I have no idea what really transpired. On the other hand, given that the meeting did take place, I would be remiss not sharing the little I think I know, along with what I can speculate.

First, the staging of the meeting was done to limit the possibility of sending too many mixed messages. The joint statement was delivered at the opening of the meeting, rather than at the end. In his statement, Obama repeated in short what he said at AIPAC (the full text of yesterday's speech is here). It was a tough statement on Iran where Obama again raised the possibility of American military action against Iran, while still stating there is still time for diplomacy. Netanyahu's centered his remarks on Israel having to remain the master of its own destiny. Obama did not seem that unhappy with what Netanyahu was saying, which leads me to believe that the remarks were coordinated in advance.

You can read the transcripts of the remarks, and judge for yourself.

Both Israeli and American sources are reporting that the meeting was very good. The Americans seem satisfied that Netanyahu is willing to give diplomacy more time. Israelis seem happy that Obama is willing to work to tighten the sanctions even further, and accepts that if sanctions do not work, Israel has a right to defend itself.

There has been talk in the last day of the Fatma issued by Ayatollah Kameni, stating that nuclear weapons cannot be used by Muslims. Is this an off ramp for the Iranians?

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