News / Middle East

Kerry Pushes Back Against Israeli Criticism of Iran Nuclear Talks

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) reaches out to shake hands with UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan at the foreign ministry in Abu Dhabi, Nov. 11, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) reaches out to shake hands with UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan at the foreign ministry in Abu Dhabi, Nov. 11, 2013.
— U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is pushing back against Israeli criticism of a still-developing deal to limit Iran's nuclear program, saying the international community is not giving up anything by talking to Tehran's new leaders.

Kerry met Monday in Abu Dhabi with Emirate leaders, saying there is no race "to complete just any agreement" limiting Iran's nuclear program in exchange for easing some sanctions. He also said the inability to conclude such a deal in Geneva this past weekend shows there is more work to do.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his Cabinet Sunday the apparent deal is "bad and dangerous" because it lowers the pressure of sanctions while allowing Iran to retain both its capability to enrich uranium and its pursuit of a plutonium reactor.

Speaking Monday to reporters in Abu Dhabi, Kerry said Netanyahu's criticism is premature. "I believe the prime minister needs to recognize that no agreement has been reached about the endgame here. That's the subject of the negotiation."

Kerry said sanctions were put in place to bring about negotiations. So it would be irresponsible to "the concept of diplomacy as well as the potential of any future use of force" if the United States ignored a chance to reach a responsible, verifiable deal to prevent Iran from developing atomic weapons.

"The first order of business of any superpower is to exercise its power thoughtfully and respectfully. And if we had to turn to a military option because we are left no other option, we must show the world we have exhausted every possible remedy and opportunity," said Kerry.

Israel has long threatened to strike Iran militarily to prevent it from developing an atomic bomb, and Kerry said Washington remains committed to Israeli security.

Iran says it has no intention of developing nuclear weapons. But parts of its program go beyond what experts say is needed for atomic research and to generate electricity.

Netanyahu said he has discussed the plan with U.S. President Barack Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and British Prime Minister David Cameron asking them all: "Why the haste?" He said they should wait and "consider the matter seriously."

Kerry said the question is, "What would would happen without this diplomatic path? Obviously Iran will continue to ramp up enrichment activities and advance on the plutonium track while we would risk losing the international coalition that has been built up to keep Iran isolated."

Kerry spoke following talks with United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed. The UAE along with Saudi Arabia and their Gulf Coast allies have expressed concerns about Iran's nuclear ambitions, but bin Zayed Monday backed the Geneva talks.

The foreign minister said this is no doubt a difficult period, but political and diplomatic discussions are the best outcome for the Iranian issue. He said it is the hope of the United Arab Emirates that Tehran sees it has no option but to be clear and transparent about its nuclear program.

Kerry says these talks are meant to test "whether or not Iran is prepared to do what is necessary to prove that its program can only be a peaceful program."

International mediators plan to continue negotiations next week in Geneva.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid