US says 'still appropriate' to pursue nuclear deal despite Iran arms shipment

White House spokesman says talks to continue, but US "will continue to stand up to Iran's support for destabilizing activities in the region."

March 6, 2014 09:34
1 minute read.
The Klos-C

The Klos-C. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN'S OFFICE)


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It is entirely appropriate to continue to pursue the possibility of reaching a resolution on the nuclear program, White House Spokesman Jay Carney told reporters on Wednesday, despite confirmation that Israel had intercepted a ship containing weapons heading from Tehran to Gaza.

Carney said that talks will go on, but acknowledged that there were struggles within the US to accept Tehran's stance on many issues.

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"We continue to have enormous issues with Iran, its sponsorship of terrorist organizations, its bad behavior in the region that manifests itself in many ways. And we continue to take all the necessary steps to address those challenges," he said.

"Even as we continue efforts to resolve our concerns over Iran’s nuclear program through diplomacy, we will continue to stand up to Iran’s support for destabilizing activities in the region, in coordination with our partners and allies, and made clear that these illicit actions are unacceptable to the international community and in gross violation of Iran’s UN Security Council obligations."

The spokesman also echoed the State Department's comments, confirming that after becoming aware of the suspected vessel, the White House directed the Department of Defense to monitor the vessel and was prepared to take necessary steps.

"This is part of the robust presence that the president has directed that we continue to maintain in and around the Gulf," he said.

"Throughout this time, our intelligence and military activities were closely coordinated with our Israeli counterparts who ultimately chose to take the lead in interdicting the shipment of illicit arms."

(The Klos-C, IDF Spokesperson) 

US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed on Wednesday that "the Israeli government interdicted a shipment of illicit Iranian arms," adding that the US was ready to act before Israel made its move. 

"The White House directed the Department of Defense to monitor the vessel," Psaki said, adding that the US prepared to take "unilateral steps" to stop the shipment. Israel volunteered to handle the ship itself, she added.

The transfer of arms would amount to a violation of UN Security Council resolutions, Psaki noted.

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