'Close to Taking a Bad Deal with a Bad Regime': Kerry Hops on Plane to Join Iran Talks
Carney claimed the White House isn't alarmed about the Senate planning to hike up sanctions in December.
"I believe that the Senate has not acted while these negotiations are taking place and we will see what happens coming out of Geneva, first of all, and we appreciate that for all the reasons that we’ve discussed -- that we believe Congress ought to basically save for the most effective moment implementation or passage of new sanctions if they’re necessary to try to change or affect Iranian behavior," he said.
"It is the president’s policy that Iran must not be allowed to obtain a nuclear weapon, and it is his view, strongly held, that, as commander in chief, he has to pursue the possibility that we can resolve that diplomatically. Because obviously the use of force, while never taken off the table, is a very serious proposition, A; B, because the best way to ensure that Iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon is if Iran itself decides to give up that pursuit, and decides in a way that ensures to the satisfaction of the international community that it can be verified through all the means that we have discussed when it comes to inspections and the like."
Carney added that "if there comes a time when new sanctions would be effective, as we’ve said in the past, we would welcome that."
He also claimed reports that France objected to the first-round deal were "conflated."
"The deal that Iran rejected was supported 100 percent by every member of the P5+1. That’s a fact. And it is the deal that we’re negotiating today in Geneva," Carney said, repeating the claim when a reporter noted that France had publicly criticized the offer.
Iran's semi-official Fars News Agency reported that Tehran is happy with the direction of the current round of talks, which have consisted of bilateral meetings between Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.
Fars said Ashton took over as lead negotiator "after France ruined the chances for a deal."
"Iran and the 5+1's discussions are now focused on enrichment. We have declared that enrichment is our redline," Fars quoted Deputy Iranian Foreign Minister for European and American Affairs Majid Takht Ravanchi. When asked if France was still standing in the way, he said, "We are negotiating with Mrs. Ashton and she presents the collective view of the six powers now. Negotiations are moving on a positive track."
"The real Iran is not one that disseminates false propaganda videos with classical music in the background," Netanyahu tweeted yesterday. "The real Iran is led by a leader who once again attacked the United States and was responded to with chants of 'Death to America'." That was in reference to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's address to the Basij in which he called Israel "the sinister, unclean rabid dog of the region."
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power said the ayatollah's rhetoric just proved the need for the administration strategy of negotiations.
“What I will say is that we have decades of mistrust, partly on the basis of comments like this, partly on the basis of the continued steady progress toward a nuclear weapon,” she said. “And that’s why we’re in the negotiations in the first place, right, is to ensure that a regime like that does not acquire a nuclear weapon, pose a threat not only to Israel but to the broader region and to mankind.”
Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) said yesterday that on sanctions "the administration has it backwards."
"Iran has been in pursuit of nuclear weapons for nearly a decade. They ought to be the ones to cease first and then we give them some relief on that, rather than we give you the money first, we give you -- we drop the sanctions or lessen the sanctions first and then we'll trust you to go forward," Coats told CNN.
"You know, we've been through that before with North Korea in 1994. I was here then. That was supposed to be verified. The North Koreans cheated," he added. "…I think it's just very bad negotiating on our part, another desperate way to get out of a difficult dilemma and avoid making a hard choice."
“The supreme leader has the final say in Iran’s affairs," House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said. "His anti-Western broadside must be taken seriously and thoroughly condemned. His despicable words sure don’t build confidence."
"I remain deeply concerned that the Obama administration is close to taking a bad deal with a bad regime.”