News / USA

White House: 'Premature' to Criticize Nuclear Deal With Iran

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton (3R) poses with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif  (2R) and U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman (2L) at the start of two days of closed-door nuclear talks, Gene
European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton (3R) poses with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (2R) and U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman (2L) at the start of two days of closed-door nuclear talks, Gene
The White House said on Friday that Israeli and Saudi criticism of a deal taking shape with Iran to curb its nuclear program was premature, as unease about the plan grew among U.S. lawmakers and Middle Eastern allies.
“There is no deal, but there is an opportunity here for a possible diplomatic solution, and that is exactly what the president is pursuing,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters traveling with President Barack Obama on Air Force One to New Orleans.
“So any critique of the deal is premature,” Earnest said.
Tehran, engaged in a critical round of talks in Geneva with the United States and five other world powers, is seeking relief from financial sanctions imposed by America and the European Union that have slashed its oil sales, severely hurting its economy.
Obama said on Thursday that he was open to “modest relief” on sanctions if Iran halts advancements on its nuclear program as talks on a permanent deal continue.
Asked about sharp criticism of the proposals by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Earnest said the United States and close ally Israel were “in complete agreement about the need to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”
Washington and its allies believe Tehran is using its civilian nuclear program as a cover for seeking the ability to make a weapon, a charge Iran denies.
Netanyahu warned U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his European counterparts that Iran would be getting “the deal of the century” if they carried out proposals to grant Tehran limited, temporary sanctions relief in exchange for a partial suspension of, and pledge not to expand, its nuclear program.
Saudi Arabia also has complained bitterly about the U.S. thaw in relations with Shi'ite Muslim Iran, the main regional rival of the Sunni-ruled kingdom.

Push for further sanctions

U.S. lawmakers have threatened to slap new sanctions on Iran even as the talks in Geneva have appeared to progress, despite White House appeals to hold off while it tests the diplomatic waters.
Kerry made an unscheduled trip to Geneva to try to help bridge what he said were “important gaps” in the negotiations, which appeared likely to be extended into Saturday.
The Senate banking committee may introduce a bill with new sanctions on Iran's oil sales after similar legislation was passed by the House of Representatives in July. And some Republicans are considering introducing a package of tighter Iran sanctions as an amendment to a defense authorization bill that is expected to be debated next month.
“We need to see the details, but if there really is a deal this bad, lawmakers are going to have to explore their options,” a senior aide to a senator said on Friday. Pro-Israel sentiment runs high on both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill.
Eric Cantor, majority leader in the Republican-controlled House, said the emerging deal in Geneva would fall short if it failed to completely halt Iran's nuclear program.
“We should not race to accept a bad deal, but should keep up the pressure until the Iranians are willing to make significant concessions,” he said.
Criticism also has begun bubbling up from some leading pro-Israel groups in Washington. White House officials met some of the more hawkish American Jewish leaders last week but failed to win broad support for a pause in further sanctions against Iran.
“Any deal that breathes life back into Iran's economy in return for token and superficial moves that put Tehran no further from nuclear breakout ... appears to be a horrific strategic error,” said Josh Block, chief executive officer of The Israel Project, a non-partisan, pro-Israel organization.
J Street, a more liberal lobbying group, took a different tack, urging supporters on its website to “tell your senators: don't undermine Iran negotiations with new sanctions.”
There was no immediate comment on the Geneva talks from the largest and most influential pro-Israel lobby, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC.

You May Like

Nearly Every Job in America Mapped in Detail

A nifty map pinpoints practically every job in the United States, revealing the economic character of America’s metropolitan areas, which also helps to inform the local culture

Corruption Busting Is Her Game

South African activist is building 'international online community of thousands of corruption fighters'

Former SAF Businessman Gives Books, Love of Reading to Students

Steve Tsakaris now involved in nonprofit Read to Rise, which distributes books in Soweto, encourages lower-grade primary school students to read

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Nora O'Donnell from: USA
November 09, 2013 4:51 PM
you hold fast - Israel. The whole might and fury of Christendom is with you.

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
November 09, 2013 6:46 AM
My take on this is Israel should prepare to go it alone. The US has made it abundantly clear it is not prepared to go it the way that favors Israel and remove the burden Iran’s nuclear threat has placed on Israel’s shoulders. So what remains to be said or done but to call it quits with the US insidious treachery, cut this seemingly economical and diplomatic benefit that has hidden in it existential threat to the state of Israel. Under president Obama, Israel has been exposed to the most dangerous cliff in its diplomatic struggle against its archenemies all over the world and more especially avowed enemies in the gulf region.

Imagine that this give away diplomatic overture from the US to Iran is coinciding with another equally devastating allegation that Yasser Arafat died by radioactive poisoning, with accusing fingers pointing at Israel while every evidence is there that Arafat never left his presidential palace during the possible time the poisoning occurred. Which leaves significant chunk of possibilities to an insider job, including if Arafat himself was fiddling with any such materials in prosecution of his rivalry with Israel; possibility of power tussle with Gaza opposition; Iran’s proxy use of Hezbollah either in liaison to attack Israel or to see Arafat’s concession to Tel Aviv did not see the light of day – to trade Jerusalem for any return – which is more probable lead. But were these mere coincidence, or does seem somebody is manipulating and maneuvering it?

All these must be coming from someone capable of whipping up trouble for Israel intended to overwhelm the Jewish state. But it instead brings out the headiness in the Jewish resolve to NEVER AGAIN be overwhelmed by its enemies. It unilaterally places the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in the cooler while the Jewish nation prepares to go without its so-called most influential ally, USA, to fend off what not only Israel but the entire world, friends and foes, see as Israel’s most potent existential threat – the Iran’s nuclear program.

Israel understands it is now or never. Like every other person, Israel understands that there is no shying away from the truth of the potency of this threat. Iran too understands it, but it too has a policy of no retreat no surrender. What do we say then? The die is cast! The stage is set, prepared in the White House. The movie is made in USA, produced and directed from the White House. Unless something is done and urgently too, to dislodge the nuclear program of Iran, the world is soon to witness the most ferocious war theater of the millennium. I bet, not even a good chunk of the White House knows this, though it is all originating right under their nose, and Congress will find they have been used and short changed lending undeserved support to a president that has completely different ideas from known US policy goals ever. But then it will be too late to know how to avert the master minded disaster. Which is beyond the Audacity Of Hope, though what is hoped for in this case is a disaster for Israel, but it will be disaster for all, and Israel will gain from it later as it will put paid to the Israel quest for a homeland not dimmed occupied – the Israeli-Palestinian question of who owns the land. And for the first time in recent history, Israel will have the support of some Arab and islamic countries, especially Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon.
It's as simple as this, NO DEAL IS BETTER THAN A BAD DEAL.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
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 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 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 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 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 After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

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 Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

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.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs