Olmert mocks Netanyahu, backs Obama over Iran nuclear talks

Former PM says Israel's "rhetoric of war and confrontation" was unwise, gov't erred ignoring Rouhani's talk of peace.

November 17, 2013 14:17
1 minute read.
Olmert, Netanyahu

Olmert, Netanyahu 370. (photo credit: Moti Milrod/Haaretz/Reuters)

Former prime minister Ehud Olmert derided his successor, Binyamin Netanyahu, for butting heads with President Barack Obama over the Iranian nuclear standoff.

According to Israel Radio, Olmert told college students in New Hampshire that the Israeli government's "rhetoric of war and confrontation" was unwise, and that it erred in ignoring "the Iranian president's talk of peace with Western countries."

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Olmert said he wholeheartedly supported Obama's efforts to test Iran's seriousness in reaching a resolution regarding its nuclear program.

"If Iran is serious, why not end this whole affair with an agreement instead of by force?" Olmert said. "Perhaps we will reach the conclusion that nothing else worked, but we owe it to ourselves to check."

The former premier then addressed the ongoing diplomatic row between Washington and Jerusalem, seeming to mock the Netanyahu government's response to American intentions to strike an interim agreement with Tehran.

"I heard that [US Secretary of State John] Kerry dared to disagree with the Israeli prime minister," Olmert said. "Poor guy. I hope he'll come out of this alright."

According to Israel Radio, Olmert told the audience that "there was no need to constantly look for ways to clash with the US president, to provoke him, and to insult him."

"That's a piece of advice that I give to anyone who wishes to be prime minister of a country that is not the United States," he said.

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