The leaders of Israel and Iran have tense relations and they are likely to be exacerbated in the wake of a move by House Speaker John Boehner. He invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to visit Washington and address a Joint Session of Congress on February the 11th. The issues are increased sanctions against Iran because of its reported nuclear weapons development and refusal of the White House to brand most terrorism as "Islamic terrorism."
The White House and State Department are not pleased, but Speaker Boehner says the Republican controlled Congress will not sit by quietly while the Administration negotiates with Iran. Israel, and many American conservatives believe Iran is stalling for time and enhancing its development of nuclear weapons. They want tough new sanctions immediately. President Obama claims talks with Iran are making progress and any new sanctions will scuttle them. He vows to veto any bill with more sanctions.
On terrorism, the Administration says there are several types of terrorists, and they are not all Islamic. But critics see a symbolism in the word "Islamic." Many are also annoyed that President Obama did not attend the massive freedom demonstration in Paris, while Prime Minister Netanyahu and many other world leaders risked their lives to attend and march in the front rows.
The Iran-Israeli dispute has political as well as security implications. It comes as the US gears up for another intensely political season. Elections are also scheduled soon in Israel, France, and other countries.
It would be a shame if politics ruins the chance of rapprochement between Iran and other countries. It would also be a shame if Iran does not step back in its support of terrorist groups, in addition to nuclear activities. Politics can be ugly and may be getting uglier.
Connie Lawn, Washington DC