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November 5, 2013 11:34 am

Hagel: Iran Negotiating Because of Israeli Pressure

avatar by Zach Pontz

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Israel's Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, during dinner with US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel at the David Citadel Hotel in Jerusalem, on April 21, 2013. Photo: Israel Ministry of Defense

Iran has been responsive to international pressure over its nuclear program in large part because of Israel, U.S. Secretary of Defense told Bloomberg News.

“It’s true that sanctions — not just U.S. sanctions but UN sanctions, multilateral sanctions — have done tremendous economic damage [to Iran],” Hagel said. “Even many of Iran’s leaders have acknowledged that. And I think that Iran is responding to the constant pressure from Israel, knowing that Israel believes them to be an existential threat. I think all of this, combined, probably brought the Iranians to where we are today. Whether the Iranians will carry forth on that, we’ll see.”

“I think Prime Minister Netanyahu is legitimately concerned, as any prime minister of Israel has been, about the future security needs of their country,” Hagel said. Netanyahu, he continued, “has got a history of being very clear on where he is on this.”

Though Netanyahu has continually warned not to trust Iranian overtures, leading to charges that he and his government are trying to undermine negotiations with the country, Hagel made sure to state he doesn’t think “he’s intentionally trying to derail negotiations.”

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