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Obama And Netanyahu Discuss Iran, Palestinians At White House

NPR icon by Bill Chappell
Susan Walsh

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is at the White House, meeting with President Obama on Monday to discuss security and intelligence matters in the Middle East, including Iran's nuclear program.

The White House says the two will discuss "final status negotiations with the Palestinians, as well as developments in Iran, Syria, and elsewhere in the region."

They are scheduled to have a "working lunch" that will also include Vice President Joseph Biden.

Before leaving for America, the Israeli leader promised on Sunday to warn officials in Washington and elsewhere that they should maintain pressure on Iran to cease its nuclear program.

"I will tell the truth in the face of the sweet talk and the onslaught of smiles," Netanyahu said before flying to the U.S., The Associated Press reports. "Telling the truth today is vital for the security and peace of the world and, of course, it is vital for the security of the state of Israel."

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who was elected this past summer, has been credited with softening his country's image a bit, after a trip to the U.N. General Assembly session in New York that included a phone call with Obama — the first direct contact between the two nation's leaders since the 1970s.

After that call, Rouhani said he and the American president had agreed on the importance of finding a peaceful way to resolve concerns over Iran's nuclear program. They instructed their top diplomats to continue the discussions.

Reuters, citing an Israeli official, says Netanyahu will tell Obama that international sanctions on Iran are responsible for the country's willingness to negotiate — and that the sanctions "should not be eased, quite the contrary, they should be tightened."

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