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

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

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