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.

    You May Like

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    China Seeks On-Off Switch for Internet

    Public asks whose security is cybersecurity law aiming to protect

    UN Human Rights Chief: Burundi May Explode Into Ethnic Violence

    Burundian government accuses the UN of a campaign of distortion

    This forum has been closed.
    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.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roari
    X
    June 28, 2016 10:33 AM
    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora