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.

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    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.

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