Kerry, Netanyahu discuss Iran’s nuclear goals

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Rome, Italy, on October 23, 2013.
 Photo courtesy of the U.S. State Department. 
By Abraham Shanedling

Secretary of State John Kerry met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Wednesday in Rome, seeking to assure Israel of the Obama administration’s resolve in negotiating with Iran.

However, as The New York Times reported, Kerry’s comments did little to persuade Netanyahu, who demanded that any deal with Iran must include a ban on uranium-enriching centrifuges and the dismantling of a plutonium heavy water plant in Arak.

“We will pursue a diplomatic initiative with eyes wide open,” Kerry told reporters, adding that Iran would be held to the same standards as other states if it was to prove its nuclear program is peaceful.

Netanyahu stressed to Kerry that Iran’s nuclear program poses an existential threat to Israel. “They should get rid of the amassed fissile material, and they shouldn’t have underground nuclear facilities,” Netanyahu told reporters.

The next round of nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 are scheduled for early next month in Geneva.