April 27th, 2010
05:51 PM ET

Iran looms over Israeli minister's meetings in U.S.

The United States is seeking tough new sanctions "to sharpen the choices that Iran's leaders face" after weekend talks between the Iranian government and the International Atomic Energy Agency failed to make progress on a deal over Iran's nuclear program, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki met this weekend in Vienna, Austria, with IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano, but no headway was made on a plan for Iran to ship its low-enriched uranium to Russia and France to be converted into fuel for a medical research reactor.

Iran initially agreed to the offer when it was made in October, but later rejected it.

"So far as we are aware, based on the readout of the meeting between the Iranian foreign minister and the director general of the IAEA, there was nothing new that was presented," Clinton told reporters after a meeting with the president of the European parliament. "We still don't have anything other than just an ongoing effort to try to influence public opinion as opposed to sitting down and providing an answer on the outstanding offer on the [Tehran Research Reactor], which is many, many months old now."

"Iran's continued disregard for its international obligations underscores the importance of united international pressure to change its policies," Clinton added.

Iran was high on the agenda in talks between Clinton and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak in Washington on Tuesday. Barak left the State Department for further talks on Iran with Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

In a joint news conference at the Pentagon with Barak, Gates said he was satisfied with the planning process by the United States to prepare for a nuclear Iran. The defense secretary's assertion was in response to a question about a leaked classified memo to the White House in January in which Gates raised concerns about whether the administration had a sufficient policy in place, along with military options, for stopping Iran's progress in getting a nuclear weapon.

"I am very satisfied with the planning process, both within this building and in the inter-agency, we spend a lot of time on Iran and will continue to do so," Gates said.

"At this stage it is time for sanctions and diplomacy," Barak told reporters. "And expect the sanctions to be effective and to be limited in time to judge to whether, what kind of results, stem from the sanctions regime."

Israeli officials say they believe their government will give the sanctions effort about a year to see whether they put sufficient pressure on Iran before debating other options.

Even as it works toward peace with the Palestinians, Israel has called Iran's nuclear ambitions its greatest threat.

"I think Iran poses a serious and mortal threat not just against Israel but many Middle Eastern nations and world security in general," Michael Oren, Israel's ambassador to the United States, told CNN's John Roberts on Tuesday. "If Iran gets a bomb, a great number of countries in the world, many of them unstable - failed regimes, terrorist groups - will get access to military nuclear technology and Iran is providing missiles to terrorists."

Oren said Israel supports sanctions against Iran and expects a new United Nations resolution will be passed that will impose "biting sanctions" against the Iranian regime.

Israel is "committed to these sanctions, seeing how they work, getting them up and running and imposing them on this regime in order to detour Iran from making nuclear weapons," Oren said.

However, Oren said if the sanctions don't work, Israel, "like any country in the world, has a right to defend itself."

Clinton and Barak also discussed the Middle East peace process and recent reports that Syria was providing Scud missiles to Hezbollah in Iran. The talks, which were supposed to run only 30 minutes, lasted an hour.

After the meeting, Barak praised Clinton's "commitment both to the friendship and responsibility" the United States has shown in guaranteeing Israel's security, as well as her "open-eyed approach" in pushing Israel and the Palestinians toward peace.

President Obama joined a meeting Monday between Barak and National Security Adviser James Jones to reaffirm U.S. policy regarding Israel and the Middle East peace talks, the White House announced. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said the president "dropped in" on the two men. According to Gibbs, Obama and Barak discussed how to move the peace process forward, challenges to regional security and "how to deal with the threats that both the U.S. and Israel face."

Barak's visit comes on the heels of talks held by George Mitchell, the U.S. special envoy, with both Palestinians and Israelis last week in the region. The meetings were part of a U.S. push to get the two sides back to the negotiating table.

Palestinians have resisted American pressure to resume talks unless the Israeli government agrees to a complete halt of new settlement construction in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

But U.S. and Israeli sources say Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week offered a package of possible incentives to the Palestinians, including the release of Palestinian prisoners, more control for Palestinian security forces in the West Bank, the easing of more roadblocks and more economic development.

Although Netanyahu did not commit to halting settlement construction in East Jerusalem, the sources say he has established a mechanism that ensures more transparency. Netanyahu's office will now be notified about all construction planning and announcements in Jerusalem. Although he cannot ban such construction, Israeli sources say this enables the prime minister to prevent any surprises that could sabotage the peace process - something they say happened when U.S. Vice President Joe Biden recently visited the region.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas signaled in an interview with Israeli television that talks could resume soon. He is expected to consult this week with the Arab League, a meeting which Assistant Secretary of State P.J. Crowley told reporters is viewed by Washington as an important barometer of Arab support for the resumption of talks.

Post by:
Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Iran • Israel
soundoff (55 Responses)
  1. Harris pitt

    I can't imagine a person like Jimmy the Fat Greek saying dat iran should b given a chance 2 acquire nuclear weapon.The truth of d matter is dat iran will use those weapons 2 destroy d west or any other country.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:31 am | Report abuse |
  2. Anderson Clayton

    It is widely believed that the ONLY alternative to Iran, to prevent INVASION, OCUPATION and the loss of its OIL and Natural gas reserves is TO GET CONVINCING DEFENSE MEANS.
    Iran is surrounded by American bases and belligerent Israel.
    As in Iraq, even without proof that they are making a nuke weapon, the campaign spearheaded by the U.S. will culminate, as in Iraq, with the invasion of even another OIL RICH Israeli enemy.
    So, at the end of the day, by threatening Iran with a nuke attack WE are the ones causing a nuclear arms race in the ME, WE and Israel are FORCING Iran to look for defense alternatives and this very situation is giving us the excuse we need to RAPE the Iranian nation.

    Well, I know this comment IS GOING TO BE CENSURED but...
    Let’s see what this BASTION of freedom of expression will do to this point of view!

    April 28, 2010 at 6:38 am | Report abuse |
  3. Mujeeb

    Actually the story goes like this,;Israel possesses weapons that can cause serious destruction and it continues to consolidate its nuclear weaponry and add more and more lethal weapons.Israel has already made an exhibition of how dangerous it can be.Using chemical and atomic weapons on Gaza are just a glimpse of power that the zionists have in store.Time has come that world gets rid of the nation which virtually poses a threat to the entire world.Iranian nuclear programme apparently for peaceful purposes is being over-highlighted by the western and the israeli media.Its a shame for we Americans that instead of disarming the fundamentalist jewish Israel we r attacking innocent iran.Shame on our Govt..!US is being accused of taking control over the arab lands and once again start that dirty imperialism and its would be no wonder that America's wrong policies culminate in another world war.

    April 28, 2010 at 6:55 am | Report abuse |
  4. Igor

    @30 Zee
    When I read your post It's clear to me , that your information is obtained from the news and not more.There are a lot of simple propaganda about Israel, that widely believed in Arab world but have nothing to do with reality.
    Some claim that Israel massacres innocent Palestinians. When ever there was massacre of Palestinians you talk about, except for Kfar Kassem massacre in 1956, and the responsible were convicted? Yes there were cases when soldiers killed innocent Palestinians, and they deserve to rot in jail, but in no way they represent Israel or its army, they are criminals, plain and simple, and treated as such. There are even Jewish terrorists, like Baruch Goldstein, but they despised in Israel, while Samir Kuntar in Lebanon considered national hero, and then is why Israel is liberal society, not because it flawless, but because it deals with it flaws.
    In ONE case, that were debated in Israeli court for decades, one family was allowed to take they home back in Jerusalem, form which they were expelled by Jordanians in 1948,( wrong decision in my opinion, unless Palestinian refugees can do the same), and already there are claims that Israel kicking Arabs out of their homes and settles it with Jews.
    Some claim that Israel is Judaizing Jerusalem , and wants to expel Arabs. In reality Arab population of Jerusalem more than quadrupled from 1967 to to day. When France and Poland wanted to expel ethnic Germans after WWII, orders were given, and there are almost no Germans living now in this countries.Same thing with Jewish population of Arab countries, so why is is Israel so bad at ethnic cleansing if it is indeed its intention?
    Arab Israelis do indeed have more rights that Arabs of Arab states. Despite what some people wrote here, Israeli law does not differentiate between its citizens based on a race or religion, not a single law, and there are also laws that prohibit discrimination. If parliament would passed such law, Supreme Court would simply struck it down.There are Arab ministers, parliament members, judges,doctors,generals, pilots in Israel. They also have political freedom, not found in Arab states. For example there are Islamist party in Israeli parliament, while it is forbidden in some Arab states. Things are not perfect, and there are economic disparity between Arab and Jewish population, but there are many affirmative action programs, and i think Israel as a state works to improve the situation.
    While there where not hundreds, but tens rocket attacks from Gaza per day, in was enough to paralyze towns and force people sleep in bomb shelters.
    Some believe that Zionists believe that Jews are superior or "chosen" . This is completely ignorant. Believe in "chosen people" is the believe of Judaism, not Zionism, and most Zionists are secular, many even atheists, and "chosen" not means superior, it means chosen to follow a religious laws. Also word hebrew world for gentiles, simply means "nations", and it is not offensive. Zionists are simply Jews who believe they are equal to other nation and deserve their free state and self determination, as all other people, Arabs,French,Germans, Italians and all others.
    Some claim that Israel is aggressive. Then when ever Israel fought somebody who wanted peace with it and accepted Israeli right to be free? Israeli public opinion would be strongly against such war.
    You believe many things about Israel, simply because maybe it is considered common knowledge in Lebanon, but please do some research and check the facts. I am Israeli, but would I believe half of what is considered common knowledge about Israel in Arab states, I would have thought that whole world should unite against Israel and attack it, but it is so far from the truth, that is difficult for me to understand why somebody would believe it.

    April 28, 2010 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
  5. Joe

    Think clearly :

    -Iran doesn't have nukes
    -Israel has nukes

    -Iran has never threatened Israel . The story about "wiping out israel from the map.." wnever happened ,check what Ahmadinejad really say on that speech. It was a zionist propaganda. Iran has never threatened israel. It has supported the arab peace initiative,

    -In reality racist Israel threatenes to nuke Iran all the time. Threatening an UN members state as israel is doing, is as a crime.

    April 28, 2010 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
  6. IGBO-MAN

    JOE you are really an idiot. I am in Africa and I strongly disagree with your post from the begining to the last. you are just a scum lier.

    April 28, 2010 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
  7. Balanceofpower

    IGBO-MAN

    What's racist about telling the facts as they are? Israel is a Facist Nazi Apartheid terror state- it has thousands of WMD and more than 400+ nukes that it hides under the pretext of "neither confess nor deny" or some BS like that. The world SHOULD attack Israel and end its hegemony.

    April 29, 2010 at 2:18 am | Report abuse |
  8. lookin to race

    WHY ISN'T ROGER MARIS IN BASEBALL'S HALL OF FAME???

    June 27, 2010 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4