News / Middle East

    Kerry, Netanyahu Meet Amid Rising Tension Over Iran

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Villa Taverna in Rome, Oct. 23, 2013.
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Villa Taverna in Rome, Oct. 23, 2013.
    Henry Ridgwell
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has held talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Rome. Iran’s nuclear program and the Middle East peace talks were on the agenda as the meeting went on for several hours. Israel is making clear its concerns about the warming of relations between Iran and the West.

    Meeting at the U.S. ambassador’s residence in Rome, Secretary of State John Kerry described the talks with the Israeli prime minister as particularly timely, given the positive start to the negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program.

    “While we welcome, and we do welcome, the change of rhetoric, the change of tone, the diplomatic opening that the Iranians have offered through President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif, we have made clear and we are adamant that words are no substitute for actions," said Kerry.

    Israel, US Remain Far Apart on Iran Nuclear Issuei
    X
    October 24, 2013 1:47 PM
    Israel and the United States remain far apart over how to deal with Iran's controversial nuclear program. And as Henry Ridgwell reports, Israel made clear its concerns over the easing of relations between Iran and the West in a meeting between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Rome.

    Those actions, said Kerry, would need to make it undeniably clear to the world that Iran’s nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

    Prime Minister Netanyahu reiterated Israel’s fears that the West may be considering easing the sanctions on Iran.

    “The best way to get it peacefully is to maintain the pressure on Iran. That's what got them into these renewed negotiations in the first place," said Netanyahu.

    Six major powers held talks with Iran in Geneva earlier this month - the first such negotiations since Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's election in June.

    Israel is in danger of becoming isolated on the issue, says Professor Ali Ansari, senior fellow at the Royal United Services Institute.

    “Netanyahu and some others are taking things to an extreme. At the moment, what we’re seeing are two sort of rather passionate and heated interpretations of how to approach Iran. One of them is so optimistic and enthusiastic it’s sort of missing all the detail; the other one is fixated by the detail and can’t see the wider opportunities," said Ansari.

    Ansari says that while welcoming the diplomatic détente, the West should be clear about the reasons for the change of tone from Iran.

    “We’re not really seeing a new, liberal wind blowing through Iran. What we’re seeing really is an economic crisis that is really encouraging some momentum for change," he said.

    Secretary Kerry also pushed for more progress in Middle East peace talks. Thirteen meetings have taken place,  but Washington wants Israel and the Palestinians to reach some form of agreement within nine months.

    That deadline is needed, according to Yossi Mekelberg, associate fellow at London-based policy institute Chatham House.

    “If you won’t set deadlines, if you won’t set even some sense of rules in negotiating and making progress, it will go on forever," said Mekelberg.

    But Mekelberg says Kerry has set a hugely ambitious agenda in the coming months.

    “Running these two issues at the same time, two tracks, the Israeli-Palestinians, which no one has succeeded before him for 20 years trying to reach a peace agreement. And at the same time to deal with probably the biggest issue right now, the Iranian nuclear program. Those are massive and with both of them, the interlocutors are not easy," he said.

    A second round of talks between Iran and the so-called P5+1 powers is scheduled for early next month, also in Geneva.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: changeirannow from: USA
    October 25, 2013 2:51 PM
    Iran is a systematic violator of the terms of the NPT. Despite Iran’s insistence that its nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes, the evidence shows beyond a reasonable doubt that Iran’s nuclear work is not consistent with any other application than the development of a nuclear weapon. Iran continues to conceal its nuclear program and conduct enrichment-related activities, in violation of the NPT, the IAEA Safeguards Agreement, all subsequent IAEA Safeguards Resolutions, and numerous United Nations Security Council Resolutions. Additionally, as a party to several human rights treaties and as a Member State of the United Nations, Iran is legally obligated to protect the civil, political and religious rights of its citizens.

    Since the Iranian Revolution in 1979, Iran has been involved in large-scale abuses of human rights, including systematic persecution of religious minorities and severe restrictions on the freedoms of expression and assembly. Lastly, Iran has also violated numerous UN Security Council Resolutions relating to the state-sponsorship of terrorism by providing training, financial support, and arms shipments to terrorist organizations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. This is in clear violation of the Security Council resolutions and poses a serious threat to international security.

    by: Charlie from: California in the USA
    October 24, 2013 1:09 PM
    Kerry, like all US Secretaries of State for too long, is Netanyahu's enabler. Need camouflage? OK here's some "peace talks". Europe threatening to boycott produce from Jewish colonies (why aren't any Arab Israelis ever settled there?) in the West Bank Kerry runs to Brussels to do your dirty work, instead of "remember the children", it's "remember the peace talks". Meanwhile I read in the news that Israel has started more new Jewish building in the West Bank than any year since the conquest of Western Jordan (the old name is never used for some reason) in '67. Seeing Kerry and Bibi smiling together always gives me the chills. An ill wind for the USA always comes from Tel Aviv.

    by: Stehling from: NYC
    October 23, 2013 2:54 PM
    The single greatest obstacle to peace in the Middle East is the refusal of the Israeli government to ratify the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and both the Chemical and Biological Weapons Treaties (CWC & BWC) that prohibit the holding and/or use of nuclear and biological weapons of mass destruction.

    Non compliance with these international treaties that have been signed by the UN, US and the EU indicates a predilection for conflict with the international community and confrontation with both the Middle East and Europe.

    by: J Cohen from: Charlotte, NC
    October 23, 2013 1:26 PM
    "This is like something out of a Hollywood movie, where teenagers are out camping in the wilderness and come over a hill and witness some devil cult in black and red garb sacrificing some poor soul on a bloody altar."

    If ever there was a creep of a man, masquerading as Secretary of State, Kerry is it!

    DARK SECRETS: INSIDE BOHEMIAN GROVE

    Since 1873, the Global Elite Has Held Secret Meetings in the Ancient Redwood Forest of Northern California. Members of the so-called "Bohemian Club" Include Former Presidents Eisenhower, Nixon and Reagan. The Bush Family Maintains a Strong Involvement. Each Year at Bohemian Grove, Members of This All-Male "Club" Don Red, Black and Silver Robes and Conduct an Occult Ritual Wherein They Worship a Giant Stone Owl, Sacrificing a Human Being in Effigy to What They Call the "Great Owl of Bohemia."

    by: Brent from: USA
    October 23, 2013 1:15 PM
    Kerry should be wearing one of his creepy Bohemian Grove negliges and thong. Picture it, because everyone knows its true!!!

    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    October 23, 2013 11:20 AM
    Iran must not produce nuclear weapon, period. That is the international community's stand. John Kerry should not be involved in the double talk that has become semantic with the administration in Washington DC recently, but must insist on the goals of the west, IAEA and USA on the matter. For now it is in doubt if Iran wants improved relations with the world so that sanctions be removed, that it can thereafter continue with its threat to the world and violation of human rights, but whatever the middle way to be allowed, Iran should take a cue from the UK contracting its nuclear plant out to French and Chinese consortium which must be held accountable for any misuse of radioactive substances from the operation. If Iran is sincere, why does it not take same line of action? Or is Iran more knowledgeable and better positioned to manage nuclear issues than Britain? Iran must not continue uranium enrichment inside Iran.

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