Hagel Credits Israel in Changing Iranian Diplomacy

YERUSHALAYIM -

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has given Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu credit for helping to bring Iran back to the negotiating table, Bloomberg reported on Monday.

Netanyahu’s threats of military action plus the pressure of crippling economic sanctions might have had the desired impact. “It’s true that sanctions — not just U.S. sanctions but U.N. sanctions, multilateral sanctions — have done tremendous economic damage,” Hagel said.

“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,” he said.

“Whether the Iranians will carry forth on that, we’ll see.”

Hagel’s remarks contrast with Secretary of State John Kerry’s last week that the U.S. would not “succumb to fear tactics” of those who oppose diplomacy, which was  likely aimed at Netanyahu’s warnings against Iran’s “charm offensive.”

Hagel also said he did not think Netanyahu was trying to sabotage the talks, as the Iranians have been alleging.