Report: Obama asks Netanyahu for 'breather'

President Obama requested Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu take a “breather” from his harsh criticism of the U.S. strategy regarding Iran during a call between the two leaders, The Washington Post reported on Thursday.

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The request came as the administration girds up for a push in the next six months to reach a final settlement on Iran's nuclear program. The president reportedly urged Netanyahu to tone down his rhetoric for the sake of diplomacy and urged him to dispatch officials to Washington who could help negotiate a resolution agreeable to both countries.

The president called Netanyahu Sunday, promising to keep the Israeli leader up-to-date regarding the progress of negotiations for a final settlement. He also reaffirmed that the two countries share the same goal of a nuclear-free Iran.

Netanyahu has been vocally opposed to the concessions made by the U.S. and its allies in the initial agreement, which loosens sanctions on Iran without requiring Tehran to dismantle its existing nuclear architecture. Following the deal's announcement on Sunday, he referred to it as a “horrible mistake” and said Israel would not be bound by it.

At least in public, Netanyahu has not shied away from continued warnings about Iran.

On Thursday evening in Israel, the prime minister vowed that Israel was prepared to act, alone if necessary.

“The largest darkness that threatens the world today is a nuclear Iran,” he said, according to The Times of Israel. “We are bound to do all we can to prevent this darkness. If possible we will do this diplomatically, if not we will act as a light unto the nations.”