Quantcast
Connect with us

Obama defends Iran policy amid Israeli criticism

Published

on

US President Barack Obama defended his administration’s Iran policy on Monday but said “huge challenges” remained to successfully implement a landmark deal on Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

Obama has come under fierce criticism from Republican rivals at home and key allies abroad, such as Israel, for pursuing a diplomatic solution to the Iran question.

ADVERTISEMENT

Israel decried the breakthrough agreement reached in Geneva on Sunday — under which Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear program in return for an easing of sanctions — as a “historic mistake.”

Obama, however, insisted that the US policy of diplomacy twinned with sanctions had been more productive than rhetoric, stating that “tough talk” alone would not guarantee US security.

“For the first time in a decade, we’ve halted the progress on Iran’s nuclear program,” Obama said. “Key parts of the program will be rolled back.”

Obama said diplomacy would continue over the coming months in a bit to settle “once and for all” the “threat of Iran’s nuclear program.”

ADVERTISEMENT

“Huge challenges remain, but we cannot close the door on diplomacy, and we cannot rule out peaceful solutions to the world’s problems,” Obama said.

“We cannot commit ourselves to an endless cycle of violence, and tough talk and bluster may be the easy thing to do politically, but it’s not the right thing for our security.”

Earlier Monday, France said the European Union could begin lifting sanctions on Iran next month as world powers set about implementing the deal with Tehran while seeking to placate a furious Israel.

ADVERTISEMENT

In a radio interview, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said EU foreign ministers were to meet next month to discuss lifting some sanctions as part of the deal, a move he said could take place “in December.”

One senior Western diplomat, who refused to be named, told AFP the focus in the coming weeks would be “swift implementation”.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday decided to send his national security advisor to Washington for talks on Iran after warning the deal will convince Tehran it has a free hand to achieve a breakout nuclear capability.

ADVERTISEMENT

Obama has repeatedly tried to reassure Netanyahu, calling him on Sunday to discuss the issue.

The Geneva deal came just days after Iran’s supreme leader described Israel as a “rabid dog” that was “doomed to collapse”.

Tehran has a long history of belligerent statements towards the Jewish state, and Israel — the Middle East’s sole if undeclared nuclear power — has repeatedly warned that a nuclear Iran would pose an existential threat.

ADVERTISEMENT

‘Israel’s security at heart’

Speaking in Jerusalem, the EU ambassador-designate to Israel, Lars Faaborg-Andersen, told a crowd of diplomats and the country’s intelligence minister that the 28-member bloc had “Israel’s security at heart.”

The so-called P5+1 world powers that negotiated the accord with Iran — the United States, France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany — say it is a key first step that wards off the threat of military escalation in the volatile Middle East.

ADVERTISEMENT

Under the deal, which lasts for six months while a more long-lasting solution is negotiated, Tehran will limit uranium enrichment to low levels used only for civilian energy purposes.

It will also neutralize its existing stockpile of uranium enriched to 20 percent, which is close to weapons-grade and therefore an area of top concern.

In return, the Islamic state will get some $7 billion in sanctions relief in access to frozen funds and in its petrochemical, gold and precious metals and auto sectors.

ADVERTISEMENT

But the raft of international sanctions that have hobbled the Iranian economy remain untouched.

Fabius said that Iran committed “to giving up the prospect of a nuclear weapon” as part of the interim deal.

“As much as Iran can move forward where civilian nuclear energy is concerned, it cannot do so for the atomic weapon,” he added.

ADVERTISEMENT

But these pacifying moves have failed to convince many Israelis, and a poll conducted by the daily Israel Hayom found more than three-quarters of Israeli Jews believe Iran will keep up its nuclear drive despite the Geneva deal.

Most Iranian newspapers on Monday hailed the Geneva deal, attributing the relatively swift success to Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Zarif, who led the Iranian delegation at the talks, received a hero’s welcome when he returned home and insisted Monday that the “structure of Iran’s nuclear program was preserved.”

ADVERTISEMENT

[Image via Agence France-Presse]

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and legal efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. And unlike other news outlets, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from billionaires and corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click to donate by check.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



Report typos and corrections to: [email protected]. Send news tips to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

2020 Election

Mass rallies, crazy decisions, grandiose posturing: This is what living in a dictatorship feels like

Published

on

Another week of shaking our heads and wondering how much longer we can survive him. Yet again, Donald Trump overwhelmed practically everything with the force of his obscene personality, running his mouth and his thumbs even while he was failing to run the country in any sort of conventional sense. He doesn’t actually do anything, but he dominates everything. Living in America today is like being trapped in a room with him — no doors, no windows, no exits, only Trump and the sound of Trump and the hideous image of Trump, all day, every day, for day after day after day.

This article first appeared in Salon.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Trump officials furious with NRA over ‘dick move’ leak of LaPierre phone call: report

Published

on

President Donald Trump originally appeared interested in strengthening federal background check laws in the wake of deadly mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. Then, after a phone conversation with National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre on Tuesday, Trump reportedly assured him that background checks were "off the table" and pivoted to discussing anything but guns.

It was a depressingly familiar moment for Trump, who also previously headfaked toward some minor gun control reforms after the Parkland school shooting and quickly walked them back.

Continue Reading
 

Facebook

Trump mulling ‘uniquely dystopian’ proposal to use AI to identify mental health issues as risk factors for gun violence

Published

on

One critic called the proposal, which expands on Trump's claim that mental illnesses, not guns, are to blame for gun violence, "nothing less than chilling."

In keeping with his insistence that people with mental illnesses, and not the wide availability of guns, are to blame for the epidemic of gun violence and mass shootings in the U.S., President Donald Trump is reportedly considering a new project aimed at detecting mental health issues to stop shootings before they happen.

As The Washington Post reported Thursday, the Trump administration has worked with Bob Wright, a close friend of Trump's and his collaborator on the reality show "The Apprentice," to develop a proposal for a new federal agency that would be called the Health Advanced Research Projects Agency (HARPA), within the Health and Human Services Department.

Continue Reading
 
 

Thank you for whitelisting Raw Story!

As a special thank you, from now until August 31st, we're offering you a discounted rate of $5.99/month to subscribe and get ad-free access. We're honored to have you as a reader. Thank you. :) —Elias, Membership Coordinator
LEARN MORE
close-link
close-image