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23 novembre 2013 6 23 /11 /novembre /2013 00:55

‘Israel has lost its battle in Iran for now’

Published time: November 21, 2013 15:56

The failed attempts by Israel to derail the agreement on Iran’s nuclear program, with Netanyahu bypassed by the P5+1 group, only signify that Israel has lost this battle, Amir Oren, a columnist at Haaretz newspaper, told RT.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came to Moscow on Wednesday to try to persuade Russia to impose tougher conditions on a nuclear deal with Iran that Israel strongly opposes. 

Netanyahu has put his prestige on the line in a very militant policy vis-à-vis Iran. He has been bypassed by the US, Russia and the other four major powers, as well as the EU in the talks with Iran,” Oren said. 

The first phase agreement seems like a foregone conclusion, all we can do now is to ask the powers to verify such an agreement and to work towards a final agreement in a few months’ time because this time around Israel has lost its battle,” Oren said. 

Oren believes that though the deal could always fall through if one of the players insists on some minor point, the general direction is talks and reconciliation. 

Commenting on the news, journalist Seyed Mostafa Khoshcheshm said that Israel is increasing its activities throughout the world, meeting with various world leaders to convince them that if they reach a deal with Iran it will not have good consequences for the region, because Israel would respond with belligerent actions. 

Khoshcheshm said that Israel is “an occupying regime which has long-track record of violation of human rights in different parts, not only in the West Bank and Gaza but also inside the occupied territories.” 

It has hundreds of nuclear warheads and has not signed any kind of international treaty to let the international community to understand what is going on in Israel. They have whatever a country needs for aggression, they have actually been invading other countries for decades and they have been in constant war with different countries, especially those in the region,” Khoshcheshm told RT. 

In its turn, Amir Oren believes that Israel cannot act militarily against the wishes of the international community and definitely not against the wishes of its major arms supplier. 

“It [Israel] cannot go ahead and attack Iran in US-made F15s, F16s, this is unthinkable,” Oren said. 

Oren believes that many Israelis, including members of the government, stand for reaching an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program by peaceful means, considering the importance of the deal with Tehran. 

Many people in Israel and even within the Israeli government do not want to derail this agreement. Perhaps Netanyahu wants to gain some technical advantages, perhaps a better deal, but he cannot have a no-deal approach,” Oren said.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.


http://rt.com/op-edge/israel-has-lost-its-battle-093/

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22 novembre 2013 5 22 /11 /novembre /2013 01:05

Iranian concession and Cameron phone call raise nuclear deal hopes




Signs of behind-the-scenes progress in dispute over nuclear programme as British PM calls Iranian president
BETA

The Guardian, Tuesday 19 November 2013 21.47 GMT

Differences between Iran and the west that have so far prevented a historic nuclear deal appear to have narrowed considerably as negotiators gather for a new round of talks in Geneva on Wednesday.

On Tuesday the Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, launched a slickly produced YouTube channel with a declaration that the path to a resolution of the decade-old dispute over Iran's nuclear programme was open, and called on the world powers to seize a "historic opportunity".

 

Zarif's move came as David Cameron spoke on the phone to Hassan Rouhani, becoming the first British prime minister to speak to an Iranian president in a decade.

"The two leaders discussed the bilateral relationship between Britain and Iran welcoming the steps taken since President Rouhani took office, including the appointment of non-resident Charges d'Affaires last week," a spokesperson for the PM said. "They agreed to continue efforts to improve the relationship on a step by step and reciprocal basis."

"On Iran's nuclear programme, both leaders agreed that significant progress had been made in the recent Geneva negotiations and that it was important to seize the opportunity presented by the further round of talks which get underway tomorrow."


The previous round of Geneva talks adjourned early, on 10 November, after an intense and dramatic three days of discussions fell just short of agreement following an intervention by the French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, to toughen the western bargaining position.

In a Saturday night meeting with the US secretary of state, John Kerry, Fabius insisted that the six powers at the talks – the US, France, the UK, Germany, Russia and France – should not grant Iran's right to uranium enrichment but should demand the cessation of Iran's construction work on a plutonium-producing heavy water reactor at Arak.

Zarif said he would have to consult Tehran on the 11th-hour changes, and the high-level talks broke up.

Since then, there have been clear signs of behind-the-scenes progress. On Sunday, Zarif was quoted in the semi-official Isna news agency as saying Iran's right to enrich was "non-negotiable", but adding that the Iranians "see no necessity for its recognition as a right".

"The right to enrichment does not need to be recognised because, according to the NPT [nuclear non-proliferation treaty], this right is inalienable," the foreign minister said.

If carried through to the negotiating table, the Iranian concession could remove a huge stumbling block. Western officials all accept that some degree of Iranian enrichment is an inevitable part of any eventual settlement but Washington and its allies have been reluctant to put that acceptance in writing as it would create a potentially dangerous precedent. Uranium enrichment is dual-purpose – it can produce fuel both for nuclear power stations and for warheads.

In the western camp, there have also been hints that a compromise could be found over Arak. The French insistence on a complete halt to work on the heavy water reactor was not shared by the whole government, a French defence source said.

"There is a debate going on in Paris, between the Quai d'Orsay [the foreign ministry] and the Élysée [the presidency] on that position," the source said.

German officials are believed to have shared some of the French concerns about a stopgap deal signed in haste in Geneva under pressure to produce results by the presence of Kerry and other foreign ministers. But the Germans disapproved of Fabius's decision to break ranks and make the divisions within the six-nation group public.

Talks since the last Geneva round appear to have resolved some of the differences inside the western camp. "I'm very optimistic there is an understanding. Some of the sensitive work will be shut down. The Europeans are hopeful this will not now be a problem," said Mark Hibbs, a nuclear expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

The purpose of the interim deal under discussion in Geneva is to slow down the Iran programme, halting and rolling back some elements, in return for limited sanctions. The deal would last for six months, during which time negotiations would continue aimed at a more enduring settlement.

Among the elements on the table are a halt to Iranian production of medium-enriched uranium, of 20% purity, and a dilution of the existing stockpile of nearly 200kg or its conversion into oxide for reactor fuel. That would add an extra month or so to the time Iran would need to turn it into weapons-grade uranium if it decided to make a weapon.

A cap on the stockpile of low-enriched, reactor-grade uranium is also likely to form part of the stopgap deal, and a freeze on Iran's enrichment capacity, halting the production and installation of new-model centrifuges, for example.

 

In return for such concessions, Iran would receive an estimated $10bn (£6bn) in sanctions relief, in the form of unfreezing blocked bank accounts, and the end of restrictions on trade in gold, petrochemicals and aircraft parts.

Officials involved in the talks point out that each of these elements involves separate highly detailed, technical agreements, and so caution that striking a bargain could be a drawn-out and painstaking process.

However, both Washington and Tehran are under pressure to achieve a deal quickly to keep domestic political pressure at bay. The US Congress is threatening to pass new sanctions legislation, which could derail the negotiations.

"The US Congress has recently been seeking to approve a bill to increase sanctions against Iran," said Mohammad-Hassan Asafari a senior member of Iran's parliamentary committee on national security and foreign policy. "It has been decided that the negotiations be suspended if the bill gets through the US Congress."

Iran's president, Hassan Rouhani, warned on Monday in a phone conversation with Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, that "excessive demands" could hamper any possible deal.

"At the recent Geneva talks good progress was made, but everyone must realise excessive demands could complicate the process towards a win-win agreement," the Iranian president told Putin, according to the state English-language television Press TV. "From our point of view, there should not be a situation in which the will of parties to reach mutually acceptable agreement is affected."

The negotiations continue to put a severe strain on US-Israeli relations. Following persistent warnings against striking a deal in Geneva from the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, Kerry made it clear that he would not be visiting Jerusalem later this week, despite an announcement to that effect made by Netanyahu.

Instead, Kerry's aides said he would try to find time for a trip after the Thanksgiving holiday at the end of November.

On Monday, the secretary of state spoke about Netanyahu's right "to publicly state his position and defend what he believes is his interest". But, in a direct rebuttal of Israel's position, he added: "Nothing that we are doing here, in my judgment, will put Israel at any additional risk. In fact, let me make this clear, we believe it reduces risk."

 

The progress in Geneva came as the White House also appeared to be holding congressional hawks at bay in Washington.

 

Barack Obama held a meeting with US senators at the White House on Tuesday to ask them to hold off further sanctions for now while the talks appeared so close to a breakthrough.

Obama revealed details of the proposed deal with Iran during a conference in Washington on Tuesday afternoon.

It would relax some sanctions, but not oil exports or banking, in exchange for a temporary suspension in Iran's nuclear efforts while all sides seek a lasting solution.

"Some of the reporting has been inaccurate, understandably because the [countries involved] have kept the negotiations tight, but the essence of the deal would be that they would halt advances on their nuclear programme, they would roll back some elements that would get them closer to break out capacity where they could run for a weapon before the international community had a chance to react, and they would subject themselves to more vigorous inspections," Obama told a conference of business leaders.

"In return, [we would] open up the spigot a little bit for a very modest amount of relief that is entirely subject to reinstatement if they violate the agreement," he added.

"It would purchase a period of time, lets say six months, during which we could see if they could get to the end state of a position where we, the Israelis and the international community could say with confidence that Iran is not pursuing a nuclear weapon."

Details of the proposed deal, hitherto hazy, may add to pressure from Israel and hawkish Republicans in Washington who say Iran is being let off the hook.


http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/19/iran-concession-

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22 novembre 2013 5 22 /11 /novembre /2013 00:55

Enough was done to answer Israel’s ‘legitimate concern’ to finally sign a deal with Iran

 

 

 

 

Published time: November 20, 2013 03:35

 

Despite Israel’s legitimate concerns over its national security, signing a nuclear deal with Iran will provide Tel Aviv with more guarantees than if the deal was to fail, former French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin told RT.

 

RT: France is widely accused of blocking a breakthrough during the previous talks - was that the case? Especially bearing in mind that France's position on Iran has always been more or less the same.

Dominique de Villepin: That’s not exactly true because I was the one leading negotiations in 2003 and at the time, during Jacques Chirac’s presidency, we got an agreement with the UK, Germany and Iran. It was today’s President Rouhani that was a negotiator. And then under the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy the position got a little bit different and tougher. But I believe today what we have to understand, all of us, is that we have a great opportunity.

It’s a great opportunity for the region, a great opportunity for the world community, because of the political change in Iran, because of president Rouhani, because of the stronger position of the moderates and the reformers in this country. So I believe that everything should be done to get a breakthrough, and this week this breakthrough is possible.

There are three main questions that are on the table: the first one is the question of the nuclear plants in Iran; the second one is the right for enrichment of uranium, and it’s a difficult question and it has to be in face of the 1970 signing of the NPT; and the third question is what who we do with the stockpile of the enriched uranium, which today Iran has in a great quantity, approximately 180 kilos of uranium enriched up to 20%. But on these different questions we have technical answers, now we have to look for the wording of the text, and I believe that we are very close with different countries, the 5+1 (5 countries of the Security Council and Germany) and Iran, we are very close to an agreement. The question is how much are we ready to take a risk to sign the agreement, and I think to assess the importance of this agreement, we must understand that it is a process. 

Of course we are not going to get a final agreement from scratch on Wednesday, but we can go into the process of agreement with an interim agreement and we can progress and have a final agreement that will be better. So I think it’s a chance and we should take it. It is in the interests of the region because it will have strong consequences on the situation in Syria, on the situation in Lebanon, on the peace process. So this can change completely the dynamic of the region for good. On the contrary, if we don’t sign the agreement, if we don’t take all chances to sign this agreement, we may have strong consequences and we may face a strike on Iran coming from Israel.



RT: Sure. And of course this is a combined effort of all the participants. Talking about previous talks again, the US has adopted a more positive approach here compared to previous negotiations - what do you make of the idea that France is playing out a good-cop/bad-cop scenario with the US and real decision-makers are still the US and Israel here?

DV: Well, France has a strong legitimacy in this discussion because France for many years has been involved since the start of the negotiations with Iran, French diplomacy knows well Iran and knows well the question of proliferation. Second, France of course has a temptation to take advantage of the withdrawal of the US in the region. France has a very good relationship with Saudi Arabia, with the conservative monarchies of the Gulf and of course has today a strong position with Israel. But this should help France to take the risk of going forward and to finalize an agreement.

We have the technical capacities, we have the technical knowledge, and I believe that Iran today is ready to do a big step forward, so we have really to put pressure in order to sign this agreement, we should not let this opportunity pass because we know that the consequences for the region will be worse than everything, it might be a signal for war in the region, that of course nobody wants.



RT: Many are accusing Paris of siding with Israel. How big of a role does Israel play in all this?

DV: Well of course Israel has a strong concern about its security and of course we are in a position and willing to guarantee the security of Israel. So I believe that Israel of course has legitimate concerns about its security, but I believe signing an agreement with Iran will give to Israel a lot more guarantees than not signing. Today we have technical answers. There’s a willingness of the IAEA, the International Atomic Agency to control the situation in Iran.

So I believe we have done such work in order to answer the legitimate concerns of Israel that we should be able to sign an agreement. Of course there’s a lot of people in Israel that still don’t want to change anything because Iran is the old enemy and Israel wants to keep the situation as it is, but I believe that for everybody, if we want to solve the problem of the region, whether it’s Syria, whether it is the situation in Lebanon, we’ve seen this horrible terrorist attack in Lebanon, whether we want to go forward with the peace process - we need to go forward and we need to reintegrate Iran in the regional community. So of course it is a big change. 

Of course everything will be different if this agreement is signed. But it is in the common interest of the whole region.


 



http://rt.com/op-edge/france-iran-talks-israel-995/

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21 novembre 2013 4 21 /11 /novembre /2013 01:10

Iran-Six: Téhéran a l'intention de conclure un accord

Dossier: Nucléaire iranien


Mohammad Javad Zarif

© REUTERS/ Ruben Sprich
21:24 19/11/2013
ROME, 19 novembre - RIA Novosti

L'Iran se rend à Genève à la rencontre avec les six médiateurs sur son dossier nucléaire (Russie, Etats-Unis, France, Grande-Bretagne, Chine et Allemagne) avec l'intention de conclure un accord concret, a annoncé mardi à Rome le ministre iranien des Affaires étrangères, Mohammad Javad Zarif.

"Je pense qu'il y a toutes les chances de réussite des négociations à Genève (…). Pourtant, la solution ne pourra être trouvée qu'à l'engagement de tous les participants aux négociations. Je suis prêt à accepter un sérieux progrès à la place d'un accord, mais, à mon avis, nous avons déjà progressé suffisamment pour conclure un accord", a déclaré M.Zarif lors d'une conférence de presse à l'issue de négociations avec son homologue italienne Emma Bonino.

Les discussions entre l'Iran et les Six se poursuivront les 20 et 21 novembre à Genève où leur précédente rencontre s'est achevée le 10 novembre sans aboutir au premier accord d'étape, les Six attendant toujours que Téhéran réponde à toutes les questions concernant la possible dimension militaire de son programme nucléaire. Quoi qu'il en soit, les parties ont laissé entendre que cette rencontre était un pas dans la bonne direction et qu'elles espéraient des ententes prochaines.

© RIA Novosti.

Iran: Nucléaire civil ou arme atomique

La délégation russe au prochain round de négociations sera conduite par le vice-ministre russe des Affaires étrangères Sergueï Riabkov.

 

 

 

 

 

http://fr.ria.ru/world/20131119/199825384.html

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21 novembre 2013 4 21 /11 /novembre /2013 01:05

Palestinian raids

I was not surprised to hear of the Israeli army's military exercises involving Palestinian civilians (Report, 13 November). 

 

The soldiers have plenty of practice intimidating Palestinians with nightly raids and daily checkpoint duty already. 

 

They may regret the little boy who has to watch his father humiliated by Israeli soldiers, while the family stand shivering in their nightclothes. 

 

I was recently asked to photograph the evidence after one such nightly raid in the small village where I was living. 

 

The front door and windows were pockmarked with bullet holes, the living room trashed and the computer broken.

 

In the kitchen they had emptied the food store, crushed the vegetables underfoot, scattered the dry food over the floor then poured the olive oil over the mess. 

 

It was spiteful, vicious destruction. 

 

As a parting insult, a soldier had smashed the windscreen of the car outside with his rifle butt. 

 

There is seldom evidence for such arrests and never compensation for damage.
Maggie Foyer
London



http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/18/palestinian-raids-israel
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21 novembre 2013 4 21 /11 /novembre /2013 01:00

En Israël et en Palestine, Hollande affiche une continuité sans envergure

 

 

 

19 novembre 2013 |  Par Lénaïg Bredoux

Lors de sa première visite officielle à Jérusalem et à Ramallah, le président de la République a assumé la continuité de la politique étrangère française en plaidant pour un État palestinien et en demandant l'arrêt de la colonisation. Un vœu pieux alors que les conditions de vie des Palestiniens se dégradent. La France est plus intéressée par le dossier du nucléaire iranien.

De notre envoyée spéciale à Ramallah et Jérusalem

C’était à la Knesset, lundi, que la visite de François Hollande en Israël et en Palestine se jouait. L’enceinte de l’assemblée nationale israélienne est un symbole où ont défilé avant lui tous les chefs d’État depuis François Mitterrand. Ce dernier y avait prononcé un discours historique, le 4 mars 1982, où il avait évoqué pour la première fois la création d’un État palestinien. Seize ans plus tard, Nicolas Sarkozyétait allé plus loin en défendant que Jérusalem soit la capitale des deux États et en condamnant la colonisation. À l’époque, quelques députés d’extrême droite avaient manifesté leur colère en quittant l’hémicycle.

Avec Hollande, cinq ans plus tard, rien de tel. Lundi en fin de journée, aucun élu israélien présent n’a exprimé la moindre réprobation manifeste durant le discours du président français, applaudi par tout l’hémicycle et, plus chaleureusement encore, par l’opposition travailliste. Il faut dire que le propos du chef de l’État ressemblait, presque à s’y tromper, à celui de son prédécesseur. Même hommage aux fondateurs d’Israël, aux souffrances du peuple juif – avec un passage plus clair pour Hollande sur la responsabilité de la France quand il a évoqué la rafle du Vél d’Hiv – et à son apport à l’histoire de l’humanité. Même allusion au mémorial de Yad Vashem à Jérusalem et à l’affaire Dreyfus, et même assurance que la France sera « aux côtés d’Israël pour défendre sa sécurité ».

Sur la Palestine, François Hollande a redit la position énoncée par Sarkozy, et qui est celle défendue par la France depuis François Mitterrand : « La position de la France est connue. C'est un règlement négocié pour que les États d'Israël et de Palestine, ayant tous deux Jérusalem pour capitale, puissent coexister en paix et en sécurité. (…) Cet accord n’aura de sens que si la sécurité d’Israël est renforcée. Quant à l’État palestinien, il devra être viable (…) – c’est pourquoi la colonisation doit cesser. »

Devant la Knesset lundi, le président français a voulu éviter de donner l’impression de tenir deux discours de chaque côté du « mur de sécurité » construit par Israël – il s’était rendu à Ramallah quelques heures plus tôt pour y rencontrer le président de l’Autorité palestinienne Mahmoud Abbas. Mais il a été moins précis que Nicolas Sarkozy. À aucun moment sur le sol israélien, François Hollande n’a mentionné les frontières de 1967 comme base de la négociation – il n’en a parlé qu’à la Mouquataa, siège de l'Autorité palestinienne. Sarkozy, lui, avait dit devant les parlementaires israéliens : « Il ne peut y avoir de paix sans une frontière négociée sur la base de la ligne de 1967 et des échanges de territoires. »

Durant ses deux jours de visite, dimanche et lundi, Hollande n’a pas davantage dénoncé la détérioration constante des conditions de vie des Palestiniens. Son prédécesseur avait affirmé en 2008 : « Il ne peut y avoir de paix si les Palestiniens ne combattent pas eux-mêmes le terrorisme. (…) Mais pas de paix non plus, permettez de le dire, si les Palestiniens sont empêchés de circuler ou de vivre sur leur territoire. » À l’inverse, Hollande s’est rendu à Ramallah, ce que Sarkozy avait soigneusement évité de faire.

Depuis François Mitterrand, tous les présidents français ont eu à cœur de se présenter à la fois comme ami d’Israël et ami de la Palestine. Mais à trop chercher l’équilibre qui lui est si cher, le discours de François Hollande semble dissonant. Car depuis 1982, la situation des Palestiniens s’est considérablement dégradée – le nombre de colons vivant en Cisjordanie dépasse les 300 000 ; le territoire palestinien est découpé en trois zones administratives, dont la plus importante par la surface (la zone C) est de facto sous contrôle israélien, fragmentant les zones palestiniennes qui ne bénéficient d'aucune continuité territoriale ; Jérusalem-Est est elle aussi touchée par la colonisation, au point que le fait qu’elle puisse un jour devenir la capitale de la Palestine semble de plus en plus compromis…

La réalité est de fait tellement déséquilibrée entre les deux parties qu’en appeler en permanence à l’équilibre – comme demander des« gestes forts des deux côtés » – et que jouer le parallélisme jusque dans les formes – Hollande a prononcé quelques mots en hébreu et en arabe, il s’est recueilli devant les tombes de Rabin et d’Arafat – a quelque chose d’absurde. Interrogé à ce sujet à la Mouquataa, aux côtés de Mahmoud Abbas, François Hollande s’en est défendu : « Je ne cherche pas un équilibre, une espèce de parallélisme des formes. Ce que je fais en Palestine, ce que je fais en Israël, c’est être utile. Ce n’est pas simplement évoquer des principes mais être utile. Il ne s’agit pas de faire plus pour les uns ou plus pour les autres, mais de faire plus pour la paix. »

Pour son entourage, Hollande est une nouvelle fois fidèle à son tempérament et à sa pratique politique : pas de coup de menton, pas d’invective publique ni de rapport de force trop évident, mais une négociation patiente et laborieuse. « S’il s’agit de lire la position européenne, ce n’est pas la peine de faire une visite ! Si on est sur notre colline à dire le droit, c’est facile ! Il ne faut pas condamner une des deux parties dans une négociation. Si on veut être écouté, et c’est l’ambition de la France, il y a un certain ton à avoir », s’agace un proche conseiller du président.

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21 novembre 2013 4 21 /11 /novembre /2013 00:55

Iran to take much tougher position in nuclear talks after 'France's sabotage'

 

 

 

Published time: November 15, 2013 19:56

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Tehran will be “very skeptical” about the intentions of the six world powers during next week’s P5+1 talks in Geneva, after the initial text of a deal on Iran’s nuclear program was “gutted” following objections from France, historian Gareth Porter said.

 


The six world powers are gearing up for yet another round of talks with Iran to curb its nuclear program on November 20. The previous round, which took place last weekend, failed to strike an accord limiting Tehran's uranium enrichment in exchange for an easing of Western sanctions.

 

US Secretary of State John Kerry blamed Iran for the failure, saying the six world powers were unified on the nuclear deal, but that the Iranians were unable to accept it “at that particular moment.” He denied reports that the US and France had differences regarding the agreement, saying that “the French signed off on it, we signed off on it.

 

Iran pointed the finger at Western powers. The country’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, said on Twitter that “No amount of spinning can change what happened within 5+1 in Geneva from 6PM Thursday to 545 PM Saturday. But it can further erode confidence.”

 

He also appeared to blame France for “guttering over half of US draft.”

 

Still, Zarif said on Friday that he was hopeful ahead of next week’s fresh talks. “It is not possible to drive ahead without hope," he told Fars news agency, as cited by AP. “Of course, hope doesn't necessarily mean going without open eyes,” he added.

 

Zarif reiterated Tehran’s demand for its rights to nuclear energy. “Any agreement that does not recognize the rights of the Iranian people and does not respect these rights has no chance.” 

 


 

Meanwhile, another political battle has unfolded in the US, as Congress debates whether to impose additional economic sanctions against Iran. Israel - America’s key ally in the region - dispatched its economy minister, Naftali Bennett, to Washington to lobby for the sanctions.

 

However, US President Barack Obama sought on Thursday to convince Capitol Hill hard-liners to go forward with negotiations with Iran and to not impose new sanctions.

 

RT spoke with historian and investigative journalist Gareth Porter about the possible outcomes for the nuclear talks and America’s role in the negotiations.

 

 

RT: Pleas from John Kerry and Joe Biden haven’t gained much traction among some Congress members. What kind of impact do you think Obama’s speech will have? Do you think it could ensure that no further sanctions are imposed?

Gareth Porter: No, I don’t think the president’s statement or speech is going to hold off the members of the Congress who are determined to go ahead with this move. The question is whether they will be able to muster a majority in the Senate. I think the House is more likely to be responsive to Israel’s urgings on this and is most likely to go ahead with sanctions. But I think the Senate may possibly constitute a rollback to going ahead with much harsher sanctions. By which I mean there will be sanctions from which the legislatures have stricken any reference to national security away, or taking away the last bit of responsibility that President Obama would have. 

 


 

 

RT: So this is all about Israel then? These members will push through with what Israel wants?

GP: This is the track record that both the majority of the Senate and the majority of the House have compiled in recent years, which is to say that they have been responsive whenever the AIPAC, the lobbying organization devoted to Israel, has put forward legislation. The majority in both Houses of Congress have been responsive. I think that definitely has to be the working assumption for this week.

 

 

RT: If the sanctions are imposed, will Iran likely say they are not going to talk any further? Is it realistic to believe the White House would then begin considering military action?

GP: I don’t think it’s realistic that Iran is simply going to walk away from the table. But it is definitely realistic to expect that Iran is going to take a much tougher position in the talks next week than they did in a last round. After all, Iran was under the firm impression that they had an understanding and agreement on a text with the United States.

As Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted in the last 40 hours - from late Thursday of last week to late Saturday - is that he was turned upside down. He claims that as much as 50 percent of the text they agreed upon was essentially gutted, as he put it, by the objections coming from France, in particular. So definitely the Iranians are going to be very skeptical about the intentions of the six powers in these negotiations. They are going to insist on guarantees that it will not happen again. Obviously, they are going to insist that the text be returned at least substantially to what was before this sabotage took place over the weekend.

 

 

RT: The White House is saying to members of Congress that military action could be possible if diplomacy fails. Do you think Washington will stand behind that statement?

GP: There is grandstanding in the United States. I can guarantee that the United States is not going to war anytime soon over Iran. I don’t think they will ever go to war over Iran, but certainly not in the present circumstances. The US military certainly exercises very powerful influence over the policy of the White House on this, and the Pentagon and the military service heads are adamantly opposed to the US going to war. They don’t see any reason to do so under present circumstances. 



 

http://rt.com/op-edge/iran-stance-talks-nuclear-790/

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20 novembre 2013 3 20 /11 /novembre /2013 01:30
Israël / Territoires palestiniens - 
Article publié le : lundi 18 novembre 2013 à 17:41 - Dernière modification le : lundi 18 novembre 2013 à 17:42

Alain Gresh sur RFI: «La France se refuse à faire pression sur le gouvernement israélien»

Après Israël, François Hollande est ce lundi dans les Territoires Palestiniens. Le président français a déposé une gerbe au mausolée de Yasser Arafat avant de s'entretenir à la Mouqata avec le président palestinien Mahmoud Abbas. Lors d'une conférence de presse commune, François Hollande a réclamé l'arrêt «total et définitif» de la colonisation par Israël dans les Territoires occupés. Pour Alain Gresh, animateur du blog «Nouvelles d’Orient», réclamer l'arrêt de la colonisation ne suffit pas.

 

 

RFI : Quelles sont aujourd’hui les relations entre la France et la Palestine ?

Alain Gresh : Formellement, elles sont très bonnes. En tous les cas, les relations officielles entre l’Etat français et l’Autorité palestinienne sont bonnes. Il y a une aide économique importante qui est apportée par la France à l’Autorité palestinienne. En même temps, il faut dire que la France ne joue pas un grand rôle, c’est le moins que l’on puisse dire, entre les négociations des paix et dans l’avancement du processus de paix.

 

 

Vous dites officiellement, que doit-on comprendre ?

Officieusement, je dirais la politique d’équilibre que mène François Hollande. C'est-à-dire, en disant je suis à la fois l’ami d’Israël et l’ami des Palestiniens, cache complètement la situation réelle qui est le fait qu’on n’est pas face à deux partenaires égaux qui sont en train de négocier de bonne foi, mais on est face à une puissance occupante, qui poursuit inlassablement la colonisation, et un peuple qui vit sous occupation.

 

Et c’est cette réalité d’une certaine manière, que le gouvernement français ne veut pas voir. Bien sûr, il condamne régulièrement la colonisation, mais sans jamais que cette condamnation ne débouche sur la moindre action concrète. Et on a vu d’ailleurs le niveau de réception de monsieur Netanyahu à monsieur Hollande.

 

Il sait très bien que cette condamnation complètement verbale n’a aucun poids et que l’important c’est les relations bilatérales sans précédent. On peut dire qu’entre la France et Israël, on est revenu en 1956. C’est à dire quand la France et Israël travaillaient de concert pour envahir l’Egypte, après la nationalisation de la compagnie du canal de Suez.

 

 

François Hollande a quand même changé de ton avec Mahmoud Abbas. Il a réclamé l’arrêt immédiat et définitif de la colonisation. Et vous, vous continuez d’avoir le sentiment qu’il souffle le chaud et le froid ?

Les positions formelles de la France ne sont pas mauvaises. La France est pour deux Etats. Elle est pour que Jérusalem soit la capitale unifiée des deux Etats, elle est, elle a toujours été, contre la colonisation.

Le problème c’est « qu’est qu’on fait ? » Ça fait dix ans que les condamnations de cette politique de colonisation se poursuivent.

 

En même temps, on fait pression sur les Palestiniens pour qu’ils poursuivent les négociations malgré la colonisation.

 

Et surtout il n’y a pas d’action concrète contre cette colonisation. Comment convaincre le gouvernement israélien d’arrêter la colonisation s’il n’y a pas un minimum de pression économique, de sanctions contre ce qui est une violation absolue de la légalité internationale ?

 

 

Ça veut dire que la France n’a pas les moyens de peser sur le processus de paix ?

Je pense que la France, contrairement à ce qu’on dit, a les moyens. Il faut rappeler qu’il fut un temps où la France et l’Europe, dans les années 70 et 80, jouaient un rôle très positif sur le conflit israélo-palestinien. C’est grâce à la France que l’OLP a été reconnu comme un interlocuteur par l’ensemble de la Communauté internationale, y compris par les Etats-Unis. C’est grâce à la France qu’a été reconnu le droit à l’autodétermination des Palestiniens.

 

Donc, elle pourrait jouer un rôle important. Mais maintenant, dans les faits, à part financer l’Autorité palestinienne, il n’y a plus aucun rôle politique joué par la France. Parce que, d’une certaine manière, on se refuse à une pression sur le gouvernement israélien. Le discours qui a commencé d’ailleurs, avec la présidence de Nicolas Sarkozy c’est de dire : nous allons améliorer nos relations avec Israël de manière à pouvoir jouer un rôle plus positif. Or en fait, depuis dix ans que cette politique est menée, en voit bien que c’est un échec total. Il n’y a eu aucune inflexion de la politique israélienne.

 

 

Et peser sur Israël c’est envisageable ?

Oui, c’est envisageable. Il ne faut pas oublier qu’Israël est le premier partenaire commercial de l’Union européenne, et si l’Union européenne prenait des mesures de sanction à l’égard d'Israël contre ce qui est, encore une fois, une violation du droit international, ce n’est pas prendre position pour tel ou tel partie. C’est : la colonisation est une violation du droit international. S’il y avait des sanctions économiques et financières européennes, je pense que oui, il y aurait possibilité de faire bouger les choses.

 

 

Vous parliez de financement. On sait que la France est l’un des premiers pays à aider économiquement la Palestine. Pourtant ces dernières années les aides vont en diminuant ?

Oui. Parce que de toute façon ces aides, elles sont à fonds perdus. C’est un des paradoxes des accords d’Oslo. C’est qu’avant tout ce qui était financé par la puissance occupante Israël, est maintenant financé par l’aide internationale.

 

C’est d’ailleurs toutes les infrastructures, tous les fonctionnaires qui étaient payés avant par le gouvernement israélien, qui sont maintenant payés par cette aide internationale.

 

Et en même temps, il n’y aucun démarrage économique en Palestine, parce que c’est impossible de démarrer une économie sous occupation, avec des colonies qui n’arrêtent pas de se développer, avec des routes qui sont coupées sans arrêt, ce qui fait que le commerce est pratiquement impossible, avec le fait que les exportations sont difficiles. Donc il va y avoir effectivement, une fatigue de la communauté internationale, sans parler de la situation à Gaza, qui maintenant est une situation absolument catastrophique avec l’électricité coupée.

 

 

Autre sujet pour François Hollande ; le dossier Arafat. Les Palestiniens attendent avec impatience les résultats des analyses françaises sur le décès de l’ancien leader Palestinien, et c’est aussi la première fois qu’un président français se recueillera sur la tombe de Yasser Arafat tout à l’heure à Ramallah. C’est un geste fort, selon vous ?

Oui, c’est un geste symbolique qui reconnaît le rôle qu’a joué Arafat, personnalité dont il faut rappeler à quel point elle a été décriée. Elle a été décriée par monsieur Netanyahu et par son prédécesseur monsieur Sharon. Donc c’est un geste fort.

 

Mais je pense que dans le dossier on est au-delà des gestes symboliques.

Aller en Palestine comme on va en Israël, oui c’est bien.

Mais après la question, c’est que ces gestes n’ont plus aujourd’hui une très grande portée, parce que la situation sur le terrain évolue dans un sens très négatif.

 

Ce qui est en train de se passer sur le terrain c’est la mise à mort de la solution des deux Etats. Parce qu’il y a aujourd’hui en Cisjordanie et à Jérusalem-Est, entre 550 000 et 600 000 colons. Même en parlant d’échange de territoires, aucun gouvernement israélien ne sera à même d’expulser 150 ou 200 000 colons de ses territoires. Donc on est vraiment en train de tuer définitivement la solution des deux Etats.

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20 novembre 2013 3 20 /11 /novembre /2013 01:05

Netanyahu steps up attack on prospect of Iran nuclear weapons deal

 

 

 

Israeli PM calls for sanctions and says he will not allow 'ayatollahs with nuclear weapons' to threaten 'the Jewish people'

 

The Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, on Sunday called the proposed nuclear agreement with Iran "an exceedingly bad deal", as he intensified his campaign to convince world powers to toughen terms ahead of fresh negotiations this week.

 

"To give the most dangerous regime of the 21st century the world's most dangerous weapons is a big, big mistake," he told CNN.

 

Netanyahu said the deal would leave Iran with 18,000 centrifuges to enrich uranium. "They are not giving up one centrifuge, not one," he said.

 

"We've been around for about 4,000 years, the Jewish people, and we are not about to let ayatollahs armed with nuclear weapons threaten that," he said. He said it was "no secret" that many Arab leaders held the same opinion.

 

Netanyahu called for an increase in sanctions, a move which would have the support of many Republicans in Congress. "I think you should increase that pressure because it's finally working," he said. "And if you give it up now when you have that pressure and Iran doesn't take apart one centrifuge when you have that pressure, what leverage will you have if you ease the pressure? It just doesn't make sense."

 

Talks in Geneva between Iran and the so-called P5+1 – Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States – are set to resume this week. On Saturday, the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, talked up the chances of a deal being reached. "Our common impression is that there is a very good chance that must not be passed up," he said.

 

On Sunday, President François Hollande, in Israel to meet Netanyahu, offered reassurance about France's tough stance on the Geneva talks. "France will not give way on nuclear proliferation," Hollande said, at a welcoming ceremony at Tel Aviv airport. "So long as we are not certain that Iran has renounced nuclear arms, we will keep in place all our demands and sanctions."

 

Western diplomats have said one of the sticking points to ending 10 years of sanctions is Iran's argument that its right to enrich uranium should be recognised.

 

The US argues that Iran does not have that right under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

 

On Sunday, in an interview with the ISNA news agency, Iran's chief negotiator and foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, suggested that recognition of that right need not be included in any deal. "Not only do we consider that Iran's right to enrich is unnegotiable, but we see no need for that to be recognised as 'a right', because this right is inalienable and all countries must respect that," he said.

 

After his meeting with President Hollande, Netanyahu is scheduled to travel to Moscow to see the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, this week and then return to Israel to meet the US secretary of state, John Kerry, on Friday. Speaking on CNN, Netanyahu said it was clear that sanctions were working and Iran's economy was "on the ropes".

 

"The options aren't really a bad deal – and this is a bad deal – or war, there's a third option: sanctions. Increase the sanctions," he said.

 

Senators including John McCain have been calling for increased sanctions on Iran. This week McCain called Kerry a "human wrecking ball" over Iran. "I have never been more worried about the parameters of this deal," he said.

 

Netanyahu said he would prefer a diplomatic solution. "We need a good solution and that's the main point. The problem with a partial deal is you reduce the sanctions and in this case Iran is practically giving away nothing. I think it's a bad deal," he said.



http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/17/binyamin-netanyahu-iran-nuclear-weapons-talks


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20 novembre 2013 3 20 /11 /novembre /2013 00:55

 

Iran to take much tougher position in nuclear talks after 'France's sabotage'

 

 

 

Published time: November 15, 2013 19:56

Head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi speaks as International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano (unseen) listen on, during a press conference in Tehran on November 11, 2013. (AFP Photo / Atta Kenare)

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Tehran will be “very skeptical” about the intentions of the six world powers during next week’s P5+1 talks in Geneva, after the initial text of a deal on Iran’s nuclear program was “gutted” following objections from France, historian Gareth Porter said.

 

The six world powers are gearing up for yet another round of talks with Iran to curb its nuclear program on November 20. The previous round, which took place last weekend, failed to strike an accord limiting Tehran's uranium enrichment in exchange for an easing of Western sanctions.

 

US Secretary of State John Kerry blamed Iran for the failure, saying the six world powers were unified on the nuclear deal, but that the Iranians were unable to accept it “at that particular moment.” He denied reports that the US and France had differences regarding the agreement, saying that “the French signed off on it, we signed off on it.

 

Iran pointed the finger at Western powers. The country’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, said on Twitter that “No amount of spinning can change what happened within 5+1 in Geneva from 6PM Thursday to 545 PM Saturday. But it can further erode confidence.”

 

He also appeared to blame France for “guttering over half of US draft.”

Still, Zarif said on Friday that he was hopeful ahead of next week’s fresh talks. “It is not possible to drive ahead without hope," he told Fars news agency, as cited by AP. “Of course, hope doesn't necessarily mean going without open eyes,” he added.

 

Zarif reiterated Tehran’s demand for its rights to nuclear energy. “Any agreement that does not recognize the rights of the Iranian people and does not respect these rights has no chance.

 


 

Meanwhile, another political battle has unfolded in the US, as Congress debates whether to impose additional economic sanctions against Iran. Israel - America’s key ally in the region - dispatched its economy minister, Naftali Bennett, to Washington to lobby for the sanctions.

 

However, US President Barack Obama sought on Thursday to convince Capitol Hill hard-liners to go forward with negotiations with Iran and to not impose new sanctions.

 

RT spoke with historian and investigative journalist Gareth Porter about the possible outcomes for the nuclear talks and America’s role in the negotiations.

 

 

 

RT: Pleas from John Kerry and Joe Biden haven’t gained much traction among some Congress members. What kind of impact do you think Obama’s speech will have? Do you think it could ensure that no further sanctions are imposed?

Gareth Porter: No, I don’t think the president’s statement or speech is going to hold off the members of the Congress who are determined to go ahead with this move.

 

The question is whether they will be able to muster a majority in the Senate.

 

I think the House is more likely to be responsive to Israel’s urgings on this and is most likely to go ahead with sanctions. But I think the Senate may possibly constitute a rollback to going ahead with much harsher sanctions. By which I mean there will be sanctions from which the legislatures have stricken any reference to national security away, or taking away the last bit of responsibility that President Obama would have.

 

 

 

 

RT: So this is all about Israel then? These members will push through with what Israel wants?

GP: This is the track record that both the majority of the Senate and the majority of the House have compiled in recent years, which is to say that they have been responsive whenever the AIPAC, the lobbying organization devoted to Israel, has put forward legislation. The majority in both Houses of Congress have been responsive. I think that definitely has to be the working assumption for this week.

 

 

 

RT: If the sanctions are imposed, will Iran likely say they are not going to talk any further? Is it realistic to believe the White House would then begin considering military action?

GP: I don’t think it’s realistic that Iran is simply going to walk away from the table. But it is definitely realistic to expect that Iran is going to take a much tougher position in the talks next week than they did in a last round. After all, Iran was under the firm impression that they had an understanding and agreement on a text with the United States.

 

As Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted in the last 40 hours - from late Thursday of last week to late Saturday - is that he was turned upside down. He claims that as much as 50 percent of the text they agreed upon was essentially gutted, as he put it, by the objections coming from France, in particular.

 

So definitely the Iranians are going to be very skeptical about the intentions of the six powers in these negotiations. They are going to insist on guarantees that it will not happen again. Obviously, they are going to insist that the text be returned at least substantially to what was before this sabotage took place over the weekend.

 

 

 

RT: The White House is saying to members of Congress that military action could be possible if diplomacy fails. Do you think Washington will stand behind that statement?

GP: There is grandstanding in the United States. I can guarantee that the United States is not going to war anytime soon over Iran. I don’t think they will ever go to war over Iran, but certainly not in the present circumstances. The US military certainly exercises very powerful influence over the policy of the White House on this, and the Pentagon and the military service heads are adamantly opposed to the US going to war. They don’t see any reason to do so under present circumstances.



http://rt.com/op-edge/iran-stance-talks-nuclear-790/

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