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May 22, 2015 / 4 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘John Kerry’

Fears Over US Iran Deal Trigger Mideast Nuclear Race, Saudi-South Korea Deal

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

The race for nuclear power has begun in the Middle East in response to fears of an Iranian nuclear threat.

The move towards nuclear technology in a region where barely half of the population graduates high school, let alone matriculates in a post-secondary school institution, was triggered by U.S. reluctance to reign in Tehran and the hostility of the Obama administration towards Israel.

Possibly in response to an editorial published this week in the English-language edition of the Saudi Arabia-based Al Arabiya,

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry flew straight to Riyadh yesterday after talks with Iran went on a brief hiatus in Montreaux.

But the leaders of Saudi Arabia have signed a $2 billion deal with South Korea to build at least two small and medium-size nuclear reactors, according to a report Tuesday in The Korea Herald.

The memorandum of understanding (MOU) calls for a feasibility study to build Korean SMART reactors in Saudi Arabia. The reactors, to be designed by the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, are specifically intended for the generation of electricity and desalination of sea water in Middle Eastern nations, according to the report. Completion of the feasibility study is expected by 2018. The two nations previously signed a nuclear cooperation agreement in 2011.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye met Tuesday with Saudi King Salman on ways to strengthen bilateral relations between the two nations. Before arriving in Riyadh, Park had concluded a three-day visit to Kuwait.

Next on her itinerary are the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

Washington needs Saudi Arabia’s support in the region for a host of foreign policy reasons. As a result, Kerry is now working to convince the Riyadh government that President Barack Obama will not bargain away its interests at the table with Iran.

The U.S. “will not take our eye off of Iran’s other destabilizing actions in places like Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and the Arabian peninsula – Yemen particularly,” Kerry told a meeting of the foreign ministers from the six Gulf Cooperating Council (GCC) states.

The Secretary of State met earlier in the day with newly-crowned King Salman and deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef in his efforts to reassure Saudi Arabia that the U.S. was not seeking any “grand bargain” with the Islamic Republic.

“Nothing will be different the day after this agreement,” Kerry claimed, “if we were to reach one, with respect to all of the other issues that challenge us in this region.”

US Secy of State Kerry Says ‘Demanding Iran Capitulate is Not a Plan’

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

US Secretary of State John Kerry briefed members of the media on the progress made in talks between world powers led by the U.S. with Iranian negotiators over Tehran’s nuclear development program in Montreaux, Switzerland on Wednesday before leaving to return to the United States. Kerry responded to the speech made by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at Tuesday’s joint session of Congress, commenting sardonically that “simply demanding Iran capitulate is not a plan.” Not that Netanyahu said any such thing or implied it, contrary to the attempts by the Obama administration to characterize the prime minister’s remarks as such.

Regardless, here is the verbatim transcript of the Secretary’s remarks, which make it clear that Kerry is determined to complete a deal with Iran, perhaps “no matter what,” unless the Iranians themselves decide that even with all the concessions, the price is just too high.

“So good afternoon to all, and thank you very, very much for your patience. We’ve been involved in some long discussions over the past few days, and even well before that. And before I leave Montreux, I wanted to quickly share with you where we are.

“From the beginning, these negotiations have been tough and intense, and they remain so. And we’ve made some progress from where we were, but there are still significant gaps and important choices that need to be made. The purpose of these negotiations is not to get any deal; it’s to get the right deal, one that can withstand scrutiny – the scrutiny of experts on nuclear affairs all around the world, the scrutiny of other governments, the scrutiny of people, the scrutiny of the Congress of the United States, people in America, and the scrutiny of countries in the region that are affected by it. And so we know that. We approach these negotiations with a full understanding of the test that will be applied to this and of the expectations that exist.

“We also want an agreement that is sustainable over time, and particularly that achieves the singular goal of proving that Iran’s nuclear program is and will remain peaceful. We aren’t going to be distracted by external factors or politics. We will continue to be guided by our experts, our scientists, our national interests and those of our partners and allies.

“Now, for all the objections that any country has to Iranian activities in the region – and believe me, we have objections and others in the world have objections – the first step is to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. And we know that absent a deal, Iran will have the ability to move ahead with its nuclear program; that we know for sure, because that’s exactly what’s happened to date. We also know that any deal that we would agree to would significantly increase the breakout time, leaving Iran further – far further than it is today – from producing enough fissile material for a weapon, while it undertakes the effort of proving to the world that the program is, in fact, peaceful.

“Clearly, increased breakout time makes any nation in the vicinity or any nation of concern safer. We also know that any deal that we reach would give us the intrusive access and verification measures necessary to confirm that Iran’s nuclear facilities are indeed on a peaceful path. And that would allow us to promptly detect any attempt to cheat or to break out, and then to respond appropriately. And contrary to some public reports, we are only contemplating a deal in which important access and verification measures will endure.

“We also know that the international sanctions, which many want to simply hang their hats on – they may have gotten Iran to the table, but to date they haven’t stopped Iran from advancing its nuclear program. In fact, the first and only thing that had stopped their program from progressing in almost a decade was the Joint Plan of Action that we negotiated and we reached in November of 2013, and that has been adhered to in every single respect since then.

“And most importantly, as President Obama said yesterday, we know that no one has presented a more viable, lasting alternative for how you actually prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. So folks, simply demanding that Iran capitulate is not a plan, and nor would any of our P5+1 partners support us in that position. And it’s very important to remember we have partners in this effort – France, Germany, Britain, China, Russia – all of whom have similar feelings about the importance of what must be done here.

“So we continue to be focused on reaching a good deal, the right deal, that closes off any paths that Iran could have towards fissile material for a weapon and that protects the world from the enormous threat that we all know a nuclear-armed Iran would pose.

“Now, we still don’t know whether we will get there, and it is certainly possible that we won’t. It may be that Iran simply can’t say yes to the type of deal that the international community requires. But we do know that we owe it to the American people in my case, people in the world, to try to find out. And we will return to these talks on the 15th of March, recognizing that time is of the essence, the days are ticking by, and important decisions need to be made. Thank you.”

Iran Declares It Won’t Agree to Freeze Nuclear Program for 10 Years

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif said Tuesday the Islamic Republic “will not yield to the greedy demands of the parties involved in the talks over its peaceful nuclear program,” according to one of the regime’s mouthpiece, the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).

Zarif is meeting today with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and said, “Iran has entered the talks in ultimate sincerity and will go on with the negotiations until securing its full nuclear rights.”

He totally rejected as “unacceptable, irrational and excessive” that Iran freeze its nuclear development program for 10 years, one of the basic points of President Barack Obama’s proposed deal and which Obama repeated on Monday. Zarif emphasized that Iran “will not give in to excessive demands by the other side in the nuclear negotiations.” Zarif told reporters:

It is clear that Mr. Obama’s comments are meant to win the US public opinion and counter the propaganda campaign by the Israeli Prime Minister and that of other radical parties opposed to the negotiations.

The remarks by Mr. Obama clearly point to the fact that the US, which has over the past decades, either directly or indirectly threatened the Islamic Republic of Iran and imposed many cruel and illegal sanctions, has come to the conclusion that the policy of threats and sanctions is a failed policy.

Obama said, “If, in fact, Iran is willing to agree to double-digit years of keeping their program where it is right now and, in fact, rolling back elements of it that currently exist … if we’ve got that, and we’ve got a way of verifying that, there’s no other steps we can take that would give us such assurance that they don’t have a nuclear weapon.”

Zarif responded, “Illogical statements will reinforce Iranians’ will to insist on their rights.”

Obama Says ‘Give Iran Talks a Chance; Israel Safer Than Ever

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

U.S. President Barack Obama revealed in an exclusive interview with Reuters late Monday that American officials do not actually know how far Iran really is from “breakout” – that is, how far from reaching the ability to create a nuclear weapon.

The reason for this is because Iran is still failing to come clean about its nuclear program.

“There is a substantial disagreement in terms of how to achieve that. And what it boils down to is what’s the best way to ensure that Iran is not developing a nuclear weapon.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu thinks that the best way to do that is either through doubling down on more sanctions or through military action, ensuring that Iran has absolutely no enrichment capabilities whatsoever. And there’s no expert on Iran or nuclear proliferation around the world that seriously thinks that Iran is going to respond to additional sanctions by eliminating its nuclear program.

“What we’ve said from the start is by organizing a strong sanctions regime, what we can do is bring Iran to the table. And by bringing Iran to the table, force them to have a serious negotiation in which a) we are able to see exactly what’s going on inside of Iran b) we’re able to create what we call a breakout period, a timeline where we know if they were to try to get a nuclear weapon it would take them a certain amount of time.

“And the deal that we’re trying to negotiate is to make sure that there’s at least a year between us seeing them try to get a nuclear weapon and them actually being able to obtain one.

“And as long as we’ve got that one-year breakout capacity, that ensures us that we can take military action to stop them if they were stop it. Now, we’re still in the midst of negotiations. What I’ve said consistently is, we should let these negotiations play out. If, in fact, Iran is agree, willing to agree to double-digit years of keeping their program where it is right now and, in fact, rolling back elements of it that currently exist …

REUTERS – Double digit years?

OBAMA – Double digit years. If we’ve got that and we’ve got a way of verifying that, there’s no other steps we can take that would give us such assurance that they don’t have a nuclear weapon.

“Now, Iran may not agree to the rigorous inspection demands that we’re insisting on. They may not agree to the low levels of enrichment capabilities they would have to maintain to ensure that their breakout is at least a year. But if they do agree to it, it would be far more effective in controlling their nuclear program than any military action we could take, any military action Israel could take and far more effective than sanctions will be.

“And we know that because during the period in which we applied sanctions for over a decade, Iran went from about 300 or a couple of hundred centrifuges to tens of thousands of centrifuges in response to sanctions.

REUTERS – Let’s talk a little bit specifically about the prime minister. Susan Rice said that what he has done by accepting the invitation to speak was destructive to the fabric of the relationship. Would you agree that it’s destructive? And if so, will there be any consequences for him or for Israel?

OBAMA – You know, I think that Prime Minister Netanyahu is sincere about his concerns with respect to Iran. And given Iran’s record and given the extraordinarily disruptive and dangerous activities of this regime in the region, it’s understandable why Israel is very concerned about Iran. We are too. But what we’ve consistently said is we have to stay focused on our ultimate goal, which is preventing Iran from having a nuclear weapon.

Kerry Says US Will Defeat ISIS but ‘Don’t Ask Me When’

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told ABC news Sunday that he admits that the war against the Islamic State (ISIS) is not near an end by insists the United States will win, even if he does not know when.

“Do you stand by your recent comments that we’re on the road to beating ISIS?” asked ABC interviewer Martha Raddatz.

He answered:

What I said was we’re on the road to success, and that begins in Iraq, and yes, I stand by it. We are growing in the capacity on the ground… The fact is that in Iraq, they have gained back a fixed, significant percentage of the area that ISIL was controlling.

When reminded that Central Command said the Iraqi city of Mosul would be re-taken from ISIS by this spring, Kerry replied:

As I think you’ve seen, that has been contradicted and I think walked back. And there are a number of different options out there, so nobody should count on what they’ve read or what they’ve seen. This will happen when we are ready. It will happen on the coalition’s schedule, and it will happen when there is confidence that it will be successful.

I’m not going to get into timetables. It will happen.

He did not say whether it would be this year or another year but admitted that things in Syria are even tougher.

“Syria is a bigger challenge,” according to Kerry.” We will need people on the ground. It will not be American forces, but we are working on that…. Arab countries in the region are stepping up their efforts. I have meetings this week with all of the GCC. I’ll be meeting with King Salman of Saudi Arabia….

“”People are thinking about the day-to-day vision of what is happening on the ground in Syria, in Libya, where 21 Coptic Christians had their heads cut off, where a soldier is burned and a pilot in a cage, where American journalists have been beheaded publicly. We understand that. But I still stand by what I said, which is in large terms, compared to the last century, there are, in fact, fewer people dying of the means that you look at, by state war, violence, health, et cetera.”

The U.S.-led coalition on Sunday said it launched seven aerial strikes on ISIS targets in Iraq and that two American drones in Syria hit an ISIS unit and two vehicles.

Kerry Warns Abbas Not to Break Security Ties with Israel

Saturday, February 28th, 2015

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly warned Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas in a phone call not to suspend security cooperation with Israel, according to Arab media.

Kerry’s spokeswoman Jen Psaki did not deny the report and sidestepped confirming it.

In Friday’s daily press briefing, she was asked specifically if “Kerry during his call warn President Abbas not to suspend security cooperation with Israel?”

Psaki said:

He [Kerry] spoke to President Abbas on Wednesday. They discussed current dynamics between the Palestinian Authority and Israel and the importance of ensuring the financial viability of the Palestinian Authority. The Secretary also detailed his efforts with key stakeholders to prevent a crisis in the West Bank and the way ahead in the coming months.

PA media headlined reported, “Mr. Kerry threatening Abbas of U.S. sanctions if he even dared to stop the security cooperation with Israel.”

So did he or didn’t he?

Psaki did not deny it and simply said, “I just addressed the question of what they discussed, and I think that certainly isn’t consistent with what I just outlined in terms of their call.

That is ‘spokesmen’s talk” for “yes, he did threaten Abbas but I won’t say that.”

The idea that Kerry and Obama are against Israel is only half-true. They also are against the Palestinian Authority. They are against anyone who does not cooperate with Obama’s attempts to fulfill the expectations of the Nobel Prize establishment, which bestowed the president with the Nobel Peace Prize before he had a chance to show he does not deserve it.

State Dept. Admits Even Obama Is not ‘Infallible’

Friday, February 27th, 2015

U.S. State Dept. spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters Thursday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is not infallible and therefore may be wrong in opposing a potential “bad” deal with Iran.

Pressed by Associated Press reporter Matt Lee if the pope and President Barack Obama also are not infallible, she admitted everyone is.

The questioning was in response to Secretary John Kerry’s testimony at Congress where he questioned Netanyahu’s judgment for supporting the 2003 war in Iraq.

Lee asked, “I’m wondering if you can explain a bit more about what he[Kerry] meant since there were a lot of people, including himself at one point, who were supporters of that war, and why this makes Prime Minister Netanyahu’s judgment suspect and does not make anyone else’s judgment suspect….. I’m sure that there may be other things that Prime Minister Netanyahu has been wrong about.”

Psaki performed some fancy verbal acrobatics and said that Kerry’s”point was about where we are with the Iran negotiations, and that we have to look at all of the options, look at all of the information that’s available, to – and have an open mind about how to approach this. And that’s what he’s asking from the prime minister.”

When Psaki agreed with Lee that “no one is infallible,” not even the pope or the president, he persisted:

if no one is infallible, how is it possible that Prime Minister Netanyahu here in his opposition to a potential Iran deal is wrong and you guys are all right?….

It’s the approach that the prime minister has an issue with, not the goal that you both – that I think he would say that you share with him. Psaki said the Obama administration does not agree that its approach to the Iranian nuclear threat is the problem. She adds that Netanyahu is wrong because he is part of an “effort to prejudge an outcome when the details are not yet known.”

But enough of the details are known.

There is a scary parallel between the “negotiations” with Iran and the U.S.-led negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Technically, details of a final agreement were not known, but the Palestinian Authority gradually ruled out compromise on virtually all issues, leaving as “details” its demands that were evolving into a de facto final agreement.

Netanyahu finally drew the line after his own administrations, as well as those under Ehud Barak, Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni, caved in time after time.

Instead of a “bad deal, there was no deal, forcing the Palestinian Authority to go to the United Nations to try to force an agreement on Israel and prove to the world that Ramallah really was not interested in negotiations.

Kerry and Obama failed in the “peace process.” They blamed Mahmoud Abbas, no less than Netanyahu, for the failure.

They proved that they, even more than Netanyahu, are not infallible.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/state-dept-admits-not-even-obama-is-not-infallible/2015/02/27/

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