Newly elected President Hassan Rouhani, who is scheduled to speak at the United Nations next week, has signaled willingness to negotiate the future of Iran's nuclear program, The New York Times reported Friday.
Both publicly and privately, the Obama administration has told Israeli officials the United States will judge Iran's nuclear intentions by its actions, not statements by Rouhani.
The White House says it has an obligation to determine whether Rouhani's expressed interest in negotiations is real.
"There's not an open-ended window for diplomacy," Benjamin J. Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser, told reporters Friday. "But we do believe there is time and space for diplomacy."
Such statements from Washington have done little to placate Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who has described Rouhani as a "wolf in sheep's clothing."
"There is no need to be fooled by the words," said an Israeli statement issued Thursday after Rouhani was interviewed by NBC News. "The test is not in what Rouhani says, but in the deeds of the Iranian regime, which continues to advance its nuclear program with vigor while Rouhani is being interviewed."
Netanyahu said Thursday "the international community must increase the pressure on Iran."
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