Kerry: Netanyahu “Was Wrong” on Opposing Iran Nuclear Talks

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US Secretary of State John Kerry testifies before the House Appropriations Committee's State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Subcommittee about the his departments FY 2015 budget February 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. AFP/ Chip Somodevilla.

Published Thursday, February 26, 2015

Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was wrong to oppose negotiations with Iran over Tehran’s nuclear program.

"He was wrong. And today he's saying, ‘Oh, we should extend that interim agreement,’" Kerry told lawmakers during testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the State Department budget plan for 2016.

In November 2013, Netanyahu said an interim agreement with Iran on its nuclear program was the "deal of the century" for Tehran as it would not stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, rather it would formalize it.

On Monday, leaks from Netanyahu’s secret service also contradicted his claim in 2012 that Iran was less than a year away from making a nuclear bomb.

Weeks after the Netanyahu’s speech in 2012, Mossad shared a report with South African intelligence which concluded Iran was "not performing the activity necessary to produce weapons," according to The Guardian.

Kerry also assured the US lawmakers that negotiators would not “permit Iran to build a nuclear weapon.”

“Iran is forever forbidden from building a nuclear weapon," he said, mentioning Iran’s commitment to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

As a member of the NPT, Iran has certain responsibilities in the context of verification and transparency of its nuclear program, Kerry said .

"Unlike North Korea, which is not a member of the NPT, Iran has certain obligations that go forever," he added.

Kerry also accused the administration of former President George W. Bush of not stopping Iran from increasing its number of nuclear centrifuges from 164 to 19,000.

He also said the US has not removed any options to challenging Iran's nuclear program, noting that sanctions and military options were still on the table in case an agreement could not reached.

Kerry and Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif held two-day talks in Geneva last week. Negotiators from Iran and six major powers agreed to resume talks next Monday. Both parties hope to meet a self-imposed deadline for an initial political deal.

On Monday, a senior Iranian official in international talks on the country's nuclear program said differences remained on key questions.

"The gap still exists, differences exist, and all parties are negotiating with seriousness and determination, but we haven't found solutions to key questions," Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said.

Washington suspects Iran’s nuclear program is designed to develop nuclear weapons; Iran denies this, saying it is for peaceful purposes.

"Today, no one can pretend that Iran's nuclear program is not peaceful," President Hassan Rouhani told science ministers from Non-Aligned Movement nations gathered in Tehran on Monday.

"The Iranian people have suffered the worst pressure during the past dozen years for having sought to realize their rights in the fields of science and nuclear technology," he said.

A key stumbling block in any final deal between Iran and world powers is thought to be the amount of uranium Tehran would be allowed to enrich, and the number and type of centrifuges it can retain.

So far two deadlines for a comprehensive accord with the six world powers have been missed. Both sides agreed last year that a final deal must now be reached by June 30.

(AFP, Anadolu, Al-Akhbar)

Comments

The analyst says, "When he addresses the US Congress this coming March 3/2015, Mr Netanyahu, will more than likely speak not so much on his country's dilemma with Iran, but more so on Iran's threat to destabilise the entire Gulf region."

Netanyahu is concerned about stability of the Gulf region, really? Netanyahu is concerned about stability in the region as much as Hitler was concerned about stability in Europe.

With all due respect to Mr. Kerry and company, I am one of those that totally disagrees with his statement. I say so not because Mr. Netanyahu is an expert on Iran, but more so because Mr. Kerry is not.
There are numerous behind the scene factors that point that Iran is a threat to Gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, including Iraq, which it fought a very long war.

When he addresses the US Congress this coming March 3/2015, Mr Netanyahu, will more than likely speak not so much on his country's dilemma with Iran, but more so on Iran's threat to destabilise the entire Gulf region. Iran cares little for its Gulf neighbours and would at first opportunity if not checked in time, destroy those that have ridiculed their leadership ever since the Ayatollah overthrew the Shah.

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