The prospect of Iran becoming a threshold nuclear power is cause for much concern in Jerusalem, as U.S. Secretary Kerry is eager to make a deal.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday that he was “driving towards the finish” to secure a deal with Iran over its nuclear aspirations, AFP reports.
Kerry’s statement was made as the November 24 deadline for ending the talks looms and amid persistent reports coming out of Washington that the Obama Administration and Iran have warmed up their diplomatic ties and have secretly begun to collaborate on various mutual regional interests.
Speaking to reporters in Paris, Kerry said there was “no intention at this point of talking about an extension” of the talks beyond the set date.
“We are driving towards the finish with the view we are trying to get it done,” AFP quotes him as saying.
There reportedly remain serious differences among the P5+1 global powers (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States) regarding Iran’s nuclear plan.
Kerry previously warned that the coming weeks will finally reveal whether the Islamic Republic is truly prepared to make tough concessions. If they appear to do so, the international sanctions currently leveled against them by the West will be lifted.
Months of intense negotiations, including between Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in mid-October in Vienna, have made progress but appear deadlocked on the key issues of uranium enrichment and the pace of any sanctions relief, AFP reports.
Anxiety in Jerusalem
The possibility of an easing of pressure on Iran has raised the level of anxiety in Jerusalem. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly warned the West against making a deal with Iran that would allow the Islamic Republic to continue its nuclear agenda.
Meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in October, Netanyahu told him: “As you know, Mr. President, Iran seeks a deal that would lift the tough sanctions you worked so hard to put in place, and leave it as a threshold nuclear power, and I fervently hope that under your leadership that would not happen.”
In an op-ed published in The New York Times later that month, Israeli International Relations, Intelligence and Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz called on world powers not to reach a nuclear agreement with Iran.
“Iran has softened its inflammatory, anti-Western rhetoric and shown some flexibility on less important issues, but we must not be duped by these gestures…. President Obama must stand by his declaration that no deal with Iran is better than a bad deal,” Steinitz said.
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Author: United with Israel Staff