Iranian Nuke Talks Extended another Seven Months; Israel Pleased

Just talking, or making progress? Illustrative. Photo Courtesy of UN Photo/Evan Schneider

Just talking, or making progress? Illustrative. Photo Courtesy of UN Photo/Evan Schneider

No deal is better than a bad deal. That’s the message Israel has been delivering for months. On Monday, that ideal got applied to the Iranian nuke deal, as the major world powers negotiating with Iran opted for extending the talks by another seven months rather than reaching a last-minute deal or by nixing the talks altogether.

US Secretary John Kerry, in comments released by the US State Department, said that the goal will be to reach the political side of a deal within four months. Regardless, the world powers didn’t reach for a deal now, and Israel was content with that.

“No deal is better than a bad deal,” said Israeli Benjamin Netanyahu in an interview to the BBC released by his office. “The deal that Iran was pushing for was terrible. The deal would have left Iran with the ability to enrich uranium for an atom bomb while removing the sanctions. The right deal that is needed is to dismantle Iran’s capacity to make atomic bombs and only then dismantle the sanctions. Since that’s not in the offing, this result is better, a lot better.”

Kerry was also sounding relatively optimistic, while emphasizing the end is not quite in sight. “These talks are going to suddenly get easier just because we extend them. They’re tough and they’ve been tough and they’re going to stay tough… But in these last days in Vienna, we have made real and substantial progress, and we have seen new ideas surface.”

Despite the new timeline, the second time the world powers have chosen to extend the talks with Iran on their nuclear program, Kerry emphasized that in four months they may think differently.

“At the end of four months, if we have not agreed on the major elements by that point in time and there is no clear path, we can revisit how we then want to choose to proceed.”

Kerry noted that they still have some key issues to discuss with Iran. “Now we believe a comprehensive deal that addresses the world’s concerns is possible. It is desirable. And at this point, we have developed a clearer understanding of what that kind of deal could look like, but there are still some significant points of disagreement, and they have to be worked through.”

Netanyahu, meanwhile, reiterated in comments to the BBC that he believes one element the world should push for is that Iran not be allowed to create their own nuclear fuel.

“What do you need to enrich uranium for if you’re not developing an atomic bomb? They are. How do we know that? Because they’re developing intercontinental ballistic missiles [ICBMs]. What do you do with such missiles? The only reason you build ICBMs is to launch a nuclear warhead. So Iran, I think everybody understands, is unabashedly seeking to develop atomic bombs and I think they shouldn’t have the capacity either to enrich uranium or to deliver nuclear warheads.”

(By Joshua Spurlock,, November 24, 2014)

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