Kerry Tries to Reassure Mideast Allies on Iran

Secretary of State John Kerry pleaded with critics not to try to scuttle an accord before details were hammered out.

Comments: 24

  1. Netanyahu is doing the one thing I thought I would never see in my lifetime. He is turning American public opinion against Israel with his constant saber rattling. Israeli's minimize the opposition to their government's policies from Europe and the rest of the world but Israel is in deep trouble if an increasing number of Americans become fed up with Israel's government as seeming intransigent and indeed, belligerent. The American people see an Israeli government that is continuing to build settlements, wanted America to attack Syria, supported a coup against a democratically elected President in Egypt, and is fighting American and European attempts to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

    The image Israel is presenting to the entire world is not that of an enlightened nation that leads the world in high technology and advances in electronics, science, and medicine. Netanyahu is causing Israel substantial harm and if he bombs Iran the entire region will be set ablaze. With Avigdor Leiberman soon to be back in his cabinet the image of Israel that Netanyahu is sending to the world is that of an intolerant, right wing, belligerent country.

  2. Nov 11, 2013

    Decidedly the Israel narrative is as much about the unity of political language effective for its polity - Allowance for the unity of all the fractions in the young state of Israel remains a process of maturation towards its world view and its quest on the world stage. Le't keep the faith - in the modern efforts and wisdom of Secretary State Kerry and the rest of those seeking progress.

  3. better to have a bad image then to be out-manuvered by a sworn enemy........survival comes first......intolerant, belligerent country?
    Because they want to survive in a cruel world.........let's surround New Jersey with fanatical regimes bent on it's destruction and see how your response changes...............

  4. Jeffrey: "let's surround New Jersey with fanatical regimes bent on it's destruction and see how your response changes..............."

    No, let's insert ourselves in a region with fanatical regimes, and expect Americans to fight each one of them to change the neighborhood to our liking.

  5. This is a bad deal, pure and simple, and somehow the French noticed it. Does Kerry want a Nobel Prize so badly? The sanctions are working well, we can stick to these and keep them going. Sorry Mark Koch but Netanyahu was speaking the truth, The Iranians are playing the West for chumps, and they are pretty much getting with it.

  6. All Netanyahu cares about is Israel. He doesn't care about anyone else or anywhere else. If a bomb dropped in the USA he wouldn't give a hoot. His right wing is never going to allow the Palestinians even a sliver of (stolen) land. Nobody could ever attack Iran - they have 80 million people there for heaven's sake. I'm proud of Kerry for finally standing up to Netanyahu! ("We're not blind and we're not stupid" - wow) Bravo. Haven't seen that in years. (especially after Bush gave Israel Carte Blanch for 8 years) Now they'll call him anti semetic of course, which is what they always do.

  7. Bw3, your comments are so steeped in preconceived convictions that they hold no credibility.

    On what basis do you make the statements that the Israeli Prime Minister does not care about anyone, or care if a bomb were dropped in the United States?

    Do you not recall that after 9-11 the Arabs and Muslims were celebrating and dancing in the streets with joy? I remember a far more friendly, sympathetic, and compassionate reaction from Israel and it's citizens.

  8. Netanyahu says 'DiIPLOMATIC negotiations with Iran would mean the end to a PEACEFUL solution in the area. Can someone please explain? I really don't get how diplomacy and peace don't go hand in hand, but then again why am I expecting war hungry Netanyahu to make any sense…!!

  9. In order to sell any agreement reached with Iran to those with vital national interests in the region, the US must be considered a trusted partner. Who trusts the USA now?
    Egyptians? Not according to their leaders public statements .
    Saudi's? They have publicly blasted the Obama Admin for fecklessness over redlines in Syria.
    Israelis? Not so much.
    Those are the three major countries in the energy rich Middle East. As they go, the region goes.

    All nations saw the US leave Iraq to fall into Iranian influence and did it quickly. Obama sold the US position in Iraq to Iran for nothing. Iraq was peaceful and recovering economically when the US left. Now? falling into civil war Sunni vs Shitte.

    The US is withdrawing rapidly from Afghanistan with no plans to influence the coming civil war. Everyone knows the outcome, the architects of 9/11 will return to power in Kabul and Afghanistan will return to massive state supported drug dealing and terrorism.

    Obama has no credibility with the people in Egypt, Israel and Saudi Arabia. A deal with Iran will cost the US what little good will is left.

  10. While all the blind hatred continues to pile up around Netanyahu and Israel, hardly a word is spoken on behalf of the thousands of political prisoners who are rotting away in Iran's prisons; or the tens of thousands of Syrians murdered by Assad, Iran and Hezbollah; or the millions of Syrian refugees who have been forced to flee their country; not to mention, the legitimate security interests of Israel which is only a single crazed mullah away from nuclear destruction. I seem to remember a time when even far-left ideologues would at least make a perfunctory effort to appear fair to Israel; even if that effort was obviously fraudulent. Alas, that time is no more.

  11. The United States and its allies must formally acknowledge Iran's rights under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) if they want to make headway. Then it may be possible to persuade the Iranians to voluntarily scale back. Dignity and respect is paramount in these dealings and the US has shown little of it in the past.

    Having Prime Minister Netanyahu screaming from the sidelines and calling on every pro-Israel lobby on the planet to scuttle these talks is not helpful, given especially that Israel is not a signatory to the NPT and maintains an arsenal of nuclear bombs ready to launch.

  12. What seems most disturbing in all the rhetoric between the negotiators in Geneva, the Saudis and the Israelis, even among the comments here is that in order to negotiate there has to be a give and take. Each side gives and gets. And in these crowded talks there are so many factions that want something but do not want to Iran to get anything in return. For all the money/support we give Israel and the Saudis it seems quite shocking how willfully arrogant a stance they are taking to resolve the nuclear issue which in fact is Iran's right.

  13. So how many dead Jews is part of the acceptable give and take?

    The harsh reality is that Iran's government continues to attempt to deny Israel as a nation state and still calls for its destruction.

    What is Israel supposed to give up so that Iran won't blow up the entire country?

    Or flip it around, how many Jews will Iran be allowed to murder for Iran to get their give and take.

  14. Israel is not Netanyahu.

  15. Mr. Kerry has been the statesman we have all been hoping for. He has worked constructively to achieve peace and understanding and has done an outstanding job. His predecessors have been politicians not statesmen and have added to the confusion rather than significantly advanced the peace process in the Middle East as Mr. Kerry as done. Let's all support and commend Mr. Kerry for his unusual diplomatic abilities.

    There are a number of "naysayers" in the Middle East who have their individual axes to grind and who will do everything they can to block progress on a peace agreement but with solid backing by those of us who have had enough of war and destruction we should be able to override the naysayers and finally achieve with Mr. Kerry a peaceful situation that will be to everyone's benefit. Three hips and a resounding hurray for Mr. Kerry.

  16. I'd agree with your praise, but for one problem: No agreement of any kind has actually been reached. If and when an agreement is reached, Kerry indeed will deserve praise.

    Maybe he deserves praise already for the Syria chemical-weapons deal. But it still appears to me that he and Obama more or less stumbled to the table at the request of Putin in that deal. Historians may learn, and tell us, that Kerry had a more important role in that deal than now meets the eye. But so far I've heard nothing that persuades me of that.

    I wish him well on Iran. But it's a bit early to praise him.

  17. There has been a denial that the six powers were divided, not least from John Kerry himself. Speaking in the UAE, he defended his French counterpart Laurent Fabius, who warned against a "sucker's deal" and said it was Iran, that "couldn't take it at that particular moment".
    By doing so, he tried to minimise the tensions in the P5+1 camp. He also relativised the disappointment, saying the talks were by no means a fiasco, pointing out that not only the French, but others in their camp, were uneasy at the sudden breakneck pace of the talks. But he also warned that the failure to agree a deal with Iran "would be a considerable problem in a few months". His Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif hinted in an interview on BBC that the "window of opportunity will not be open forever".
    Indeed there's a psychological tug of war going on between Iran and the six powers.

  18. Iran is the one in these negotiations that must prove its good faith. It has been actively trying to build a nuclear weapon for many years and at the same time has been threatening Israel with annihilation. From reports, there is also deep seated antisemitism in Iran.
    This negotiation is not about choice of words, but intent. Iran, in this, while easing of sanctions is a goal, it must prove its intent not to develope a nuclear weapon.
    Where are Russia and China in this in enforcing non-proliferation?
    Someone needs to explain to the Iranians there mistrust of us is misplaced. While we supported the Shah, our intent was to deny the communists their oil fields and a southern port. Without our efforts at the time, Iran might well have become another puppet Russian state, an outcome far worse than the Shah. They are in the position today of believing their own propaganda on this, rather than the real-politics of the time.
    My guess is the Iranian people want friendly relations with the U.S. Their political hardliners should recognize this, and give up any semblance of a program to build nuclear weapons. Such weapons would mean perpetual mistrust by the rest of the world, as well as a tremendous expense to maintain.

  19. [[In Tel Aviv, he held a tense session with Mr. Netanyahu, who has mounted a fierce lobbying campaign against an agreement, saying it would be a “deal of the century” for Iran.]]

    What's Netanyahu's goal? Permanent opposition? Permanent conflict?

    I don't understand what Israel wants.

  20. Mark Landler's text: "Saudi officials have privately complained about the administration’s reluctance to intervene more forcefully in Syria."

    An intervention by all actual and proxy powers to quit the hostilities now !

    A democratic election – on the ballot paper ;

    1. Mr Assad and his party

    2. The Opposition (rebels) as a unit

    Would Mr Assad be willing to take the chance ?

    And so the votes would be counted.

    The rebels would be annihilated by democratic vote !

    The only vision at the moment is the slow mopping up, wiping out of the Robjn Hood play actors who are enjoying their media roles.

    In the meantime there are two disasters at the moment Syria and the Philippines.

  21. Is anyone else puzzled by the third sentence in this passage from the article:

    "In Saudi Arabia, Mr. Kerry relayed an assurance from President Obama that the United States would defend its ally from external attack. And he said the administration would keep the Saudis updated on nuclear negotiations “so there are no surprises.” Both statements were unusual, given the decades of close cooperation between Washington and Riyadh."


    Kerry tells Saudi Arabia that the US will defend it from external attack and will keep it updated on nuclear negotiations with Iran. That hardly strikes me as "unusual" in a relationship of "close cooperation" – quite the opposite, in fact. What more, exactly, should the US be doing?

  22. William O. Beeman writes:

    "The United States and its allies must formally acknowledge Iran's rights under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) if they want to make headway."


    First, I'll mention that I always read Mr. Beeman's comments and always am very impressed by them. This time too.

    But I disagree that the US and its allies must formally acknowledge Iran's enrichment rights in order to make headway now. They should acknowledge those rights – with that I agree. But they won't, not now nor for quite some time – certainly not in the language of this agreement if one is reached.

    Headway nevertheless can be made and probably will be made.

    Most likely, an interim deal will emerge which authorizes Iran to keep on enriching uranium, with agreed restrictions in exchange for the US and other Western companies easing up on their sanctions. Iran will grumble that the agreement contains no formal acknowledgement of its enrichment rights, but it will sign anyway. The US will crow to its critics that it steadfastly refused to acknowledge Iran's enrichments rights. But it will sign anyway.

    The key fact will be clear: The US will have signed an agreement that authorizes Iran to enrich uranium, and Iran will proceed to enrich uranium under that US-approved agreement. Maybe Iran won't be enriching pursuant to a formally acknowledged "right" to do so, but Iran nonetheless will be enriching uranium with the US' blessing.

    By my definition, that's called a "right."

  23. Even commenters who generally discount wild accusations against Iran believe that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran would wipe Israel off the face of the earth.

    Ahmadinejad and many other Iranian officials, from Khomeini on, have publicly predicted and fervently hoped that Israel as a Jewish state will cease to exist. They insist that any government that treats a large portion of its residents (e.g. West Bank Palestinians) as Israel does should be replaced by one that treats people fairly. Most people in the world probably agree with that. That doesn’t mean those people plan to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, nor harm Jews anywhere. It simply means what the words say: such an oppressive government should cease to exist.

    No Iranian leader has ever said Iran will wipe Israel off the face of the earth, push Israel into the sea, attack Israel at all (except in defense), kill or harm Jews in or outside of Israel, or mistreat Jews living in Iran. Contrary claims are pure fabrications.

    Iran has been accused of doing many bad things. In a single sentence I read recently, Iran was said to be guilty of bombing the US Marine barracks in 1983, blowing up a Jewish center in Argentina, financing Palestinian terrorists, and planning to blow up the White House. All such accusations are just that – accusations. Pick one at random and check yourself for evidence. You won’t conclude the accusation is false – rarely can a negative be proven. But you’ll understand it’s just speculation.

  24. third.coast writes:

    "What's Netanyahu's goal? Permanent opposition? Permanent conflict? I don't understand what Israel wants."


    Based on your questions, I'd say you understand pretty well.