Shapiro: Not clear whether Iran talks will continue

US ambassador says Obama is working with Israel, international community to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear capability.

Baghdad nuclear talks 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Baghdad nuclear talks 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The world powers negotiating with Iran have not decided how – or even whether – negotiations that began in April should continue, US Ambassador Dan Shapiro said Thursday.
Shapiro, speaking to Israel Radio’s Arabic department during a tour of Netanya, said US President Barack Obama was committed to preventing Iran from getting nuclear arms.
“We are working together with Israel and many partners in the international community to put pressure on Iran,” said Shapiro, speaking in Hebrew. “There are very tough sanctions, and there are also the negotiations with the P5+1. We have not yet decided with our partners how to continue the negotiations, or if to continue the negotiations, but we are in full coordination with Israel and other partners.”
Low-level talks between Iran and an EU official were held this week in Istanbul, and another meeting is expected in the coming days between EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, representing the P5+1 – the US, China, Russia, France, Britain and Germany – and Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili.
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This high-level coordination between Israel and the US on the matter is expected to continue next week with the arrival for talks of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak, speaking Wednesday at the National Defense College, of the coordination with the US, said that there was “continuous, intimate and open dialogue with the US administration – even if we don’t always agree.”
Barak admitted to differences with the US regarding Iran that had to with the “paces of our ticking clocks, the differences in capabilities, as well as other power discrepancies.”
These differences, he said, meant that each country had “its own particular conclusions and points of view...sometimes they are different.”
At the same time, he said, the US understood that Israel alone had ultimate responsibility for decisions affecting its security.
Barak made clear that he did not think that either the stepped-up sanctions or diplomacy currently being pursued would be enough to stop Iran.
“The Iranians are determined to continue deceiving the entire world, in order to achieve nuclear weapons.
Whoever wants proof, just needs to look at the talks over the last few months,” he said. “The Iranian nuclear program presents a challenge to Israel, a unique challenge, with the potential to develop into an existential threat. We have no responsible way of ignoring this.”
During that speech Barak indicated that the price of militarily stopping Iran now would be much less than the price of stopping Tehran after it gets a nuclear weapon. He also said that one of the lessons Israel needed to draw from the world’s inability to act to stop the butchery in Syria was that the international community cannot always “mobilize political will, unity of purpose, or ability to function – even when the situation demands it.”