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.

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Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Iran • Israel
soundoff (55 Responses)
  1. Bob

    #11 – If Israel is Nazi Germany then extremist Islam is the devil incarnate. Yes, Hamas, Hezbollah included. The same people that flew planes into the twin towers and the same people who Israel have to deal with, with all their twisted fundamentalist views.
    Iran having a nuclear weapon will make the WHOLE western world unsafe. They already give missiles to Hezbollah, a terrorist regime, what's to stop them from giving them a nuclear weapon? Or using it on the America or any Western democracy?
    9/11 was only 10 years ago yet people tend to forget who the real enemy is, who's terrorizing the world, and who's making much of it unsafe with its ideology.
    Israel, within 62 years has created the only democracy in a region with none. Gays and other minorities live in fear. Only Israel is tolerant. Hell, they're more tolerant to their Arab citizens than Arab countries are. Ironic, isn't it?

    April 27, 2010 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dean

    Nothing wrong with Iran having nuclear bomb ability. It is when they give that bomb to terrorists to destroy another country that the U.S. has to eliminate this threat once and for all.

    April 27, 2010 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jimmy the Big Fat Greek

    This could happen:

    a) Iran will get nukes and get bombed by Israel
    b) America will invade Iran, because we are engaged in colonialism, though we mask it under anti-terrorism
    c) Jack Bower infiltrates Iran and takes out Aki

    April 27, 2010 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sceptic

    The U.S has been supporting Israel because the people who have been in power in the US were Jews or had some some Jew affiliations,With Obama that is not the case that is why for the first time there is issues between the 2 countries.An interesting fact is that there is something wrong with Jews,kicked out from the middle east ,moved to Europe people dint like them killed in the millions,went back to the middle east and started years of wars and disagreements.i think the Jews should look within themselves to see why they cannot get along with anyone.

    April 27, 2010 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. zenigomu

    One thing i dont understand is why is the US and Allies support Saudi Arabia, where almost all of the 9/11 terrorists were from. Al Queda is fundamentalist Sunni like Saudi Arabia.. like Al Queda...

    Iran are their enimeis as they are Shia and Shias have not been responsbile for any terrorism outside of civil wars.

    Saudi Arabia makes Iran look liberal and progressive. Iran is a democracy too unlike Saudi Arabia.

    Join the dots, once again the west is targeting the wrong country!.

    April 27, 2010 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. dotmafia

    always the u.s. meeting and planning no-good with israel. when is the u.s. going to try direct diplomacy and actually meet with the leaders of iran?

    April 28, 2010 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
  7. Guest

    @16 Bob – You ask people not to forget 911? Well it wasn't the Iranians was it. The US govt created a BS story based on lies saying it was Iraq. In fact the terorists were all from Saudi Arabia but they are good campain contributors aren't they 🙂

    Isreal is tollerant of gays? maybe but the fundamentalist settlers aren't. They prefer to shoot gays because gays are seen as evil. And the saudis aren't much better, some years ago they beheaded 6 homosexuals on christmas eve but we don't say anything against the Saudis.

    Israel tollerant of non-jewish citizens – Are you really that stupid? They are bulldozing their homes and destroying their comunities and replacing them with jewish settlements. The whole purpose of this is to physically displace the non-jewish population so that only jews can live their. Would it be ok to go and bulldoze and "black" neighbourhood so you can put whites in there?

    Once Iraq goes back to being a fundamentalist state (it was a liberal dictatorship previously) things are going to get a lot worse.

    April 28, 2010 at 12:14 am | Report abuse |
  8. Stanley b

    I pray that nations of the world will seek peace and not war ,blood shed.yes there can be a peaceful world,if man has understanding,tolerance.

    April 28, 2010 at 12:44 am | Report abuse |
  9. Dasoul

    Iran should't be allowed to develop nuclear weapon because of lack of respect for human right. They despise libralism but rather act under barbaric dictate of d 9th century which has always been a threat to d global peace. To the middle east-if u want to be @ peace with the west, you have to start thinking and making judgment like a modern man-sanctify life instead of glorifying death as reflected in ur so called Jihad.

    April 28, 2010 at 1:12 am | Report abuse |
  10. Andrew W

    The American people are always coaxed into these conflicts under ideological umbrellas and we agree because of our good nature and desire to do good in the world and for our own protection...It's a lot more about money than any of us like to admit

    April 28, 2010 at 1:26 am | Report abuse |
  11. erick

    What Israel needs to do is to launch every offensive against Iran's Islamofascist regime otherwise a number of nuclear weapons might be used against it,the U.S. or even sold to terrorists and dictators.

    I vehemently support military action even as a preemptive one.

    April 28, 2010 at 2:09 am | Report abuse |
  12. anndomini77

    "The supply is endless, the wealth from all its treasures!" (Bible, Nahum 2:9)

    "4 The chariots storm through the streets, rushing back and forth through the squares. They look like flaming torches; they dart about like lightning." (Bible, Nahum 2:4)

    There was a General in the U.S. Military who became Governor of New Mexico from 1878-1881. He wrote the book Ben Hur. It was the best selling novel until 1936. It was made into a movie in 1959.

    In the Movie Ben Hur. Ben Hur grew up with Messala. Messala grew up and became a Roman Centurion. Ben Hur grew up to be a Prince of Juda. Then they Clashed. They put each other in various prisons and finally had a chariot race. Both Got Hurt. Then when they watched the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and Heard him say Father Forgive them for they know not what they do. They both became Christian and dropped there swards, and stopped fighting.

    There was a man named Saul of Tarsus who who did much worse than what Messalla did to Ben Hur and much worse than what Ben Hur did to Messala to the Christians. But Jesus made him a Christian. And Jesus made him The Apostle Paul who wrote most of the New Testament Gospel.

    "28There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." (Bible, New Testament, Galatians 3:28-29)

    "The Dispensationalist teaching of prophecy takes Jesus from the center of all prophecy and replaces our blessed Lord with the state of Israel. In Luke 24:44, Jesus says, "All things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled." Dispensationalists, in effect, have recast this section of God's Word to say, "All things written about the state of Israel in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled." Furthermore as Luther points out, Israel, even in the old Testament, has always referred to those who believed and followed God, not to a particular race of people or to a certain geographical area. The Psalms regularly refer to Israel. When the Psalmist is referring to Israel, he is pointing to those whom God has promised to bless. In there false understanding of scripture, the dispensationalists have misled millions to believe that the Psalms are referring to God blessing the state of Israel, when in fact, the Psalms refer to a blessing God wants to give to all who are worshiping him. In other words, the dispensationalist theology twists and redirects God's promises of blessings from children who are his through Baptism to those they believe are his through geography. Among themselves Dispensationalists would agree that the leading schools teaching their interpretation of the Scriptures would be Moody Bible institute in Chicago Illinois, and Dallas theological Seminary in Texas. One of the founders of Fuller Theological Seminary was also a major promoter of Dispensationalism." (Good News Magazine Prophecy Issue 35, Concordia Mission Society, P.O. box 8555 St Louis MO 63126)

    "24These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. 25Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. 26But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother." (Bible, New Testament, Galatians 4:24-26)
    "I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan." (Bible, New Testament, Revelation 2:9)

    "9I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you." (Bible, New Testament, Revelation 3:9)

    Jesus lived in all sorts of holes. The grave is one of them.
    Foxes have holes. (New Testament, Matthew 8:20)
    King Herod is a Fox. (New Testament, Luke 13:32)
    Jesus brought us out of all of them.

    "He forgave us all our sins, 14having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross." (Bible, New Testament, Colossians 2:13-14)
    "13By calling this covenant "new," he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear." (Bible, New Testament, Hebrews 8:13)
    Law with its religion is Satan if You don't have Christ and the Gospel. In fact we are no longer under the law but under Grace. "14For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace." (Romans 6:14) "13Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree."" (Bible, New Testament, Galatians 3:13) Law is like a hole. Law is like a Cave. Law is like a Mountain. "12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood" (Bible, New Testament, Ephesians 6:12)

    Saul of Tarsus was a member of the Synagogue of Satan. He calls himself the "chief of sinners" But God made him The Apostle Paul who wrote most of the Gospel in the New Testament.

    "15For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?" (Bible, New Testament,Romans 11:15)

    "4Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. 5However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness." (Bible, New Testament, Romans 4:4-5)

    So we gain the Spirit of God not by observing the law. (New Testament, Galatians, 3)

    "16"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,[a] that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (Bible, New Testament, John 3:16)

    Men readily believe what they want to believe. (Caesar)

    Saint Augustine said that if you want to believe you believe.

    You have right standing before God.
    You don't have to jump through any hoops.
    Jesus did.
    He died for you and rose again.
    Heaven is your Home.

    April 28, 2010 at 2:19 am | Report abuse |
  13. seryan

    i think america and israel are really rong,iran can not have the nuclear weapon , i think the biggest threat 4 the world is the ISRAEL, as we see what they are doing in palestine{killing too many people, making too many children orphan......} u frinds are blieiving in america but u shoud research and decide freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeely

    April 28, 2010 at 2:23 am | Report abuse |
  14. Zee

    What is wrong with all of you?!?!? I don't understand how anyone in the west can view Israel as a liberal and fair state! They accept gays?? WOW!! They also massacre Palestinian women and children by the hundreds and have been doing so for YEARS! All of a sudden gay rights exceed those of humanity...interesting set of priorities the west is developing.

    I lived in the west for many many years and I'm Lebanese (christian/muslim/jewish/druze makes no difference). The west has so much to offer in terms of life and living the moment, we in Lebanon like to reflect that, in fact those of you that have visited a number of the middle eastern countries will know that that is the case. Yet those uneducated, nieve and media orientated fools that like to call themselves open minded are misled and it saddens me to think that your media and information you're exposed to is so utterly one-sided that you clearly do not do enough research on the topic!

    @15 Shaun – Man you have NO CLUE what you are talking about. I have never read so much rubbish in my life and I thought this was a forum by CNN to allow posters with some form of educated opinion to post their thoughts. It's clear to me Shaun that your information is obtained from the news and not more. No research, no depth. Hamas firing hundred of rockets DAILY? Arabs in Israel receive more rights than their brothers in Middle Eastern Countries?? Unbelievable! I mean don't get me wrong I know the Jews suffered but they seem to think that the entire world should turn a blind eye to Israel's behaviour becuase it owes them for WWII! NONSENSE! Every civilization has suffered what makes them so special?? Israel are truely this planets next Nazis!

    Don't misunderstand me, I despise terrorism as much as the next man and I support no fundametalist regime of any denomination but I always remember that one mans terrorist is another man's freedom fighter! (except Al Qaeda – those guys need to be set alight and allowed to suffer for all time!)

    You people need to wake up and realize that what is happening to the Palestinians is an injustice to humanity and a modern day re-enactment of Nazi Germany's 'Arian plan to exterminate/punish a select group in society. The US is slowly distancing herself from Israel and rightfully so.....they have lost their minds and their moral compass!

    April 28, 2010 at 2:46 am | Report abuse |
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