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
    Reuters
    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

    Candidates' Comments Fly Like New Hampshire Snowflakes

    Four days ahead of the country's first-in-the-nation Republican and Democratic party primary elections, surveys show the parties' contests tightening

    Australian Commander: IS Changing Tactics

    Head of Australian forces in Middle East talks with VOA about training Iraqi troops, countering evolving Islamic State efforts and defeating extremism

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.