Meeting in Jordan this week, Secretary of State John Kerry said he and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talked “one-on-one for a little while” about Iran nuclear negotiations ahead of a Nov. 24 deadline for a deal.
“And he expressed his concerns, of course, and I made it clear to him that the standard that we have applied throughout this negotiation still applies, and that is that there are four pathways to a nuclear weapon and we need to make certain that each pathway — the Fordow facility, the Arak nuclear — the Arak heavy water plutonium reactor facility, the Natanz enrichment facility, and covert capacities — are all closed off so that not — not as a matter of bias or prejudice, but because that’s the only way the world can know for certain that a program is indeed a peaceful program,” Kerry told reporters in Amman yesterday. “And our responsibility is to make certain that there is a sufficient breakout time in the event that there was some change in policy or something happened.”
“So those guarantees are in place and we will keep all of our friends and allies informed of what we are doing in the days ahead. Our hopes remain still to try to achieve an agreement because it’s better for the world.”
Kerry said he hopes Iran cooperates in negotiations “not as a matter of coercion but out of mutual respect and out of the interests that we all have for living in a world that is free of nuclear weapons.”
Netanyahu told the Jewish Federations of North America General Assembly this week it should be “obvious that Iran is not prepared to dismantle its nuclear weapons program in return” for sanctions relief.
“Unfortunately, instead of holding firm and demanding that Iran dismantle its program, the international community is reportedly, and I hope these reports do not prove to be true, but the international community is reportedly willing to leave Iran’s nuclear program largely intact. They hope to rely on intelligence and inspectors to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu said.
“We must recognize the limitations of our own intelligence gathering capabilities. Remember – for years, both Israel’s intelligence and US intelligence failed to discover Iran’s secret enrichment facilities at Natanz and Qom. And given that record, there is no reason to believe that our intelligence facilities will be perfect in the future,” he added.
“As for inspectors, they weren’t able to stop North Korea from getting the bomb. And if the ten year run-around that Iran has given the International Atomic Energy Agency is any indication, inspectors won’t stop Iran from getting the bomb either.”
Netanyahu stressed that Iran should never be seen as a partner in the Middle East as long as the regime is in place.
“The Islamic State of Iran is not a partner of America,” he said. “It’s an enemy of America.”