On Iran, Trump and Netanyahu Finally Disagree

Tehran has its own version of “maximum pressure,” and it’s leading the U.S. and Israel in different directions

By Dennis Ross

President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel are usually on the same page, especially on Iran. But over the last few days, their scripts have diverged.

Trump, at the G-7 summit on Aug. 26, emphasized that “Iran is not the same country that it was two and half years ago when I came into office.” It is no longer the No. 1 nation in terms of supporting terrorism, he said, “Because they can’t spend like they used to spend.” The implication is that the U.S. “maximum pressure” campaign of sanctions has so severely damaged Iran’s economy that its behavior is changing for the better.

Contrast that with a statement by Netanyahu on the same day. “Iran is operating on a broad front to carry out murderous terrorist attacks against the State of Israel,” he said. “Israel will continue to defend its security however that may be necessary. I call on the international community to act immediately so that Iran halts these attacks.”

Netanyahu was speaking directly about the steps Israel has taken recently to ensure its security: Destroying Iranian rockets at Shiite militia bases in Iraq; reportedly using drones to attack a facility enhancing the precision capability of missiles provided to Hezbollah by Iran; and pre-emptively striking Iranian forces and Hezbollah operatives near Damascus as they prepared a terror attack into Israel.

Read more at https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-09-05/iran-crisis-trump-and-netanyahu-aren-t-on-the-same-page