News / Middle East

Iran Nuclear Deal Draws Israeli Criticism, Saudi Silence

VOA News
Iran's nuclear agreement with world powers has drawn strong criticism from Israel and silence from its main Gulf rival, Saudi Arabia.
Under the deal reached in Geneva early Sunday, Iran must limit its enrichment of uranium and freeze reactor construction.
Israel and Saudi Arabia have long feared Iran will divert those activities to make atomic weapons that could threaten their interests.  Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful.
In return for Iran's concessions, the United States and five other world powers agreed to ease some international sanctions on Iran's economy.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Israeli Cabinet the Geneva agreement is a "historic mistake" that makes the world "a much more dangerous place."  Israel wants more sanctions on Iran and a complete dismantling of its nuclear facilities.
The rulers of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait met Saturday as Iran and the world powers finalized the nuclear deal.
None of the three Gulf states had commented on the agreement by late Sunday.  But Sunni Arab Gulf leaders have expressed concerns in the past about what they see a campaign by Shi'ite Iran to boost its regional influence.
Israeli leaders see a nuclear-armed Iran as a threat to their nation's existence due to Iran's frequent calls for Israel's demise. Netanyahu said Israel will "not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapons capability."
President Barack Obama offered reassurance late Saturday, saying Washington's commitment to Israel and to its Gulf partners will "remain firm."  He also said those nations have "good reason to be skeptical about Iran's intentions."
In an interview with CNN, Secretary of State John Kerry said the deal with Iran will make Israel "safer" because it is designed to expand the amount of time Iran would need to make a nuclear weapon.
Two Gulf states gave a cautious welcome to the Geneva agreement. The United Arab Emirates expressed hope that it will lead to a permanent deal that preserves stability in the region and protects it from nuclear proliferation. Bahrain said it hopes there will be an end to "fear" in the region.
The deal also won praise from Iran's neighbor, Iraq, and main regional ally, Syria, two Arab nations not led by Sunnis.
Iraq's Shi'ite-led government called the agreement a step forward for solving regional problems.  The government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said the deal is proof that negotiations are the best way to resolve a conflict.
Assad is a member of the Alawite sect of Shia Islam.  Iran has been supporting him as he fights off a two-year long rebellion against his autocratic rule.
The government of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas hailed the Iran nuclear deal as an "important message for Israel to realize that peace is the only option in the Middle East."  Israel is believed to be the only nuclear-armed nation in the region.  It neither confirms nor denies that status.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the Geneva pact and urged the governments involved to "do everything possible to build on this encouraging start."

You May Like

Isolation, Despair Weigh on Refugees in Remote German Camp

Refugees resettled near village of Holzdorf deep in German forestland say there is limited interaction with public, mutual feelings of distrust

Britons Divided Over Bombing IS

Surveys show Europeans generally support more military action against Islamic State militants, but sizable opposition exists in Britain

Russia Blacklists Soros Foundations as 'Undesirable'

Russian officials add Soros groups to a list of foreign and international organizations banned from giving grants to Russian partners

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Laura O'Donnell from: USA
November 25, 2013 6:46 AM
You can just hear the obsession of the Iranians with Israel's sophistication... - the pure envy and jealousy and hate of it... Russia knows what Israel has... and its far more sophisticated than anyone pretend to understand... but listen to the Iranians: writing as "Igor" from "Russia" oozing with envy and jealousy. its almost a delight to read... listening to the Iranians here is like looking at a fetid gangrenous decay... it even smell Iranian...
In Response

by: V. from: India
November 25, 2013 7:57 AM
Laura, I totally agree with you. Their hate reduces them to imbecility. "It even smell Iranian..." LOL
In Response

by: Marcia from: USA
November 25, 2013 7:35 AM
"It even smells Iranian..." - Yes it does, Laura!!! and that stench i do not want anywhere near my children. I don't want Iranians or Hizbulla or any of the various metastatic combinations of this Islamic filth anywhere near here. GET OUT OF THIS COUNTRY!!!

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
November 25, 2013 1:57 AM
How come US has right to enrich and Iran has not the same right? It could be reasonable if Israel, to tell the truth, has no nukes. Both side's lack of right to enrich would bring peace in the Middle East. Does Israel really have nuclear weapons? Is not it a disguise of NATO for Israel to have nukes? I believe the US does not stands by Israel 100 percent so that US must not have allowed Israel to mount nukes. Thank you.
In Response

by: mdil4396 from: Australia
November 25, 2013 5:56 AM
All are equal bur some are more equal than others. You are absolutely correct.. Why should the US, UK France etc be allowed to enrich and possess nuclear weapons but. Not Iran? Why are thewe countries allowing Israel to possess weapons if mass destruction, including nuclear but not Syria and Iran?

by: Igor from: Russia
November 24, 2013 11:52 PM
Even a child can understand why Israel is so angry. Because Iran has signed the nuclear agreement with world's powers so the world will in turn pay much more attention to Israel's nuclear weapon program because it is a sole threat to the security of the Middle East. After Iran's agreement, Israel will have to abandon its nuclear weapons under the supervison of the UN inspectors or it will face international criticism and sactions.
We will never recognize Israel as one of nuclear weapon country!!!!
In Response

by: dave bowen from: arizona usa
November 25, 2013 3:56 PM
Frankly,I could not care less about what Israel thinks. She is Americas number one welfare client,one hand in our pocket for billions a year,while slapping us in the face at every opportunity with the other. Fairweather friend. I was on the USS Liberty. Israel never explained,never apologized

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?i
Carol Pearson
November 29, 2015 1:23 PM
The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle reports from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs