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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘geneva talks with iran’

White House Talks Iran Deal with Jewish Groups

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

The White House held at least two phone calls with Jewish leaders to explain aspects of the interim sanctions-for-nuclear-rollbacks deal between Iran and major powers.

Among the speakers on the conference calls Monday with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and the Jewish Federations for North America were Tony Blinken, a deputy national security adviser, and David Cohen, the top Treasury official in charge of implementing sanctions.

The off-the-record calls were a signal of the importance that the administration attaches to keeping pro-Israel groups on board for the six-month interim deal achieved over the weekend in Geneva, however skeptical the groups may be of the deal.

Generally, according to participants, questioners pressed the U.S. officials on the degree to which the deal impacts sanctions and whether the concessions to Iran could be reversed should Iran renege.

The officials said the deal’s sanctions relief affected only the “margins” of the Iranian economy, and that the main sanctions, targeting Iran’s energy and financial sectors, would remain in place.

The White House officials acknowledged differences with Israel, where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has described the deal as “very bad,” but said the endgame was the same: incapacitating Iran’s nuclear capacity, according to call participants.

Another White House call was held Tuesday for leaders of faith groups; Jewish leaders joined the call.

Separately, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in a memo on Monday expressed concerns about the interim deal. AIPAC noted that the agreement allows Iran to keep enriching uranium, albeit at low levels, even though U.N. Security Council resolutions have called for a suspension of enrichment pending a final deal, and that it appears to preemptively allow Iran an enrichment capacity as part of a final status deal.

Also problematic, AIPAC said in the memo, is that the deal “includes an option to extend the negotiating window beyond an initial six-month period,” which “creates the possibility that the initial agreement will become a de-facto final agreement.”

The memo called on Congress to pass legislation that would impose penalties should Iran renege on the deal.

Obama Assures Netanyahu of Consultation on Iran Going Forward

Monday, November 25th, 2013

President Obama told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the United States would consult closely with Israel as talks with Iran go forward.

“Consistent with our commitment to consult closely with our Israeli friends, the president told the prime minister that he wants the United States and Israel to begin consultations immediately regarding our efforts to negotiate a comprehensive solution,” said a statement by the White House issued Saturday evening.

“The president underscored that the United States will remain firm in our commitment to Israel, which has good reason to be skeptical about Iran’s intentions,” it said.

Multiple media reports have said the United States did not brief Israel until two months ago on advances in the secret talks that culminated in the deal struck over the weekend in Geneva between Iran and major powers. The deal provides some sanctions relief in exchange for rollbacks in Iran’s nuclear program.

Netanyahu said repeatedly over the weekend that the deal is a bad one.

“As we learn more and more details about the agreement that was achieved last night in Geneva, it becomes increasingly clear how bad and dangerous this agreement is to the world, the region and Israel,” he said Sunday evening at an awards ceremony.

Israel and a number of U.S. lawmakers have said that nothing less than a total halt to uranium enrichment and a dismantling of Iran’s nuclear program should have triggered any easing of sanctions.

Under the interim agreement, about $7 billion in sanctions out of the $100 billion to $120 billion a year that impacts Iran’s economy will be eased. Also, Iran will lower enrichment to 5 percent, well below weaponization levels, and freeze construction in its nuclear program.

The interim period is supposed to culminate in a final status deal that would ensure Iran’s nuclear program is not moving toward a weapon.

Netanyahu Urges Kerry to Reject Deal with Iran

Friday, November 8th, 2013

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged the United States to reject a deal which, according to reports, would ease sanctions on Iran if it limits uranium enrichment to 3.5 percent purity.

Netanyahu said Israel “utterly rejects” the deal and is not obliged to abide by it.

“Israel is not obliged by this agreement and will do everything it needs to defend itself, to defend the security of its people,” he said prior to a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Kerry announced last minute that he would fly to Geneva from Israel, where he is attempting to salvage Israel-Palestinian talks, in a bid to “narrow the difference in negotiations” between the major powers and Iran.

The deal would mean that Iran would stop enriching uranium to the 20 percent level that is close to weapons-grade and turn its existing stockpile of this material into harmless oxide but continue to enrich to 3.5 percent purity needed for nuclear power stations, according to a report Thursday in The Telegraph.

An agreement on what is being called a first-step deal is expected by Friday, when the current round of negotiations in Geneva between the major powers and Iran is scheduled to end.

Under the reported Western proposal, Iran would receive limited sanctions relief in exchange for an agreement to curtail nuclear enrichment activities.

Netanyahu said in a statement Friday that he told Kerry during a meeting in Israel that day that “no deal is better than a bad one” ahead of Kerry’s departure from Israeli to Geneva, Switzerland, where the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia and Germany are negotiating with Iran.

“The deal being discussed in Geneva is a bad one, a very bad deal,” Netanyahu said. Under the deal “Iran is not required to dismantle even a single centrifuge, yet the international community is easing sanctions for the first time in many years. Iran is getting everything it wanted at this stage but is giving nothing in return at a time when it is under heavy pressure,” Netanyahu added.

“I call on Secretary Kerry not to rush and sign but wait and re-evaluate to get a better deal,” Netanyahu also said.

An unnamed U.S. Senate aide, citing briefings from the White House, the State Department and sources in Geneva, told the Telegraph that in addition to the 3.5-percent limit, Iran would agree to limit the number of centrifuges being used for this purpose.

Iran would also agree not to use its more advanced IR-2 centrifuges, which can enrich uranium between three and five times faster than the older model, but would be under no requirement to remove or disable any other centrifuges.

Additionally, under the deal Iran would agree for a six-month freeze in some activities at its plutonium reactor at Arak, which could provide another route to a nuclear weapons-capability. Iran may, however, continue working on the facility.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/netanyahu-urges-kerry-to-reject-deal-with-iran/2013/11/08/

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