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

US Storm Falls Short of Severe Predictions, Yet Affects Millions

NYC mayor says, 'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' yet blizzard warnings, travel bans remain for several East Coast states More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle with Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people were displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid