White House: Israel's skepticism about Iran is 'entirely justifiable'

US administration responds to Netanyahu's UN speech, saying President Obama shares Israel's concerns about Tehran's nuclear program and its intentions, but stresses the need to continue pursuing diplomatic path with Iran.

October 2, 2013 11:57
1 minute read.
Prime Minister Netanyahu and US President Obama meet at the Oval Office, September 30, 2013.

Netanyahu and Obama at Oval Office 370. (photo credit: Koby Gideon/GPO)


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Israel's skepticism about Iran and its intentions is "entirely justifiable," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said on Tuesday, following Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's speech at the UN General Assembly.

"As the President has said, we understand, and it is entirely justifiable, that Israel is skeptical about Iran and Iran’s intentions. After all, this is a country whose leadership, until recently, was pledging to annihilate Israel. So their security concerns are understandable. Their skepticism is understandable," Carney said.

Carney said the United States shares Israel's concerns, and empathized that the US and Israel share the same goal and the same policy - that Iran cannot be allowed to have nuclear weapons.

Having said that, Carney, who was unable to watch Netanyahu's speech, did not share his aggressive stance, and stressed the need to continue pursuing diplomacy between Iran and the P5+1 nations.

"We believe, and the President and the Prime Minister discussed this [on Monday], that we ought to pursue this diplomatic opening because the window of opportunity remains open. We’ve said all along that it won’t remain open forever, but this opportunity is here," he said.

Carney credited the harsh sanctions imposed as Tehran as the reason to Iran's willingness to engage in talks with the international community "in a more serious way than we've seen in recent years."

"We believe that the Iranian leadership has, very publicly... changed their approach to resolving this issue with the international community," he said.

He stressed however that the seriousness of Iran's intentions will be tested in the P5+1 negotiations and whether "they meet all their obligations, and demonstrate in a convincing, verifiable, transparent way that they are not pursuing a nuclear weapon."

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