US will ask Iran to 'cease and desist' rocket shipments to Gaza

Rare high-level meeting between US and Iran to take place in Vienna; Kerry to ask Iran to cooperate after Gaza rockets threaten Israeli lives.

US Secretary of State John Kerry. (photo credit: REUTERS)
US Secretary of State John Kerry.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
VIENNA – In a rare high-level meeting on Sunday between the US and Iran, Secretary of State John Kerry will ask Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to halt his country’s weapons shipments to Gaza.
“Iran has a longstanding record of supplying weapons, rockets, to various terror groups in Gaza, including Hamas,” one senior Obama administration official said from Vienna. “Those rockets are being used to fire at civilian areas, and Iran has a responsibility to cease and desist from continuing to supply weapons in this conflict.”
Israel launched Operation Protective Edge five days ago to eliminate those stockpiles and their facilitators, members of Hamas and other Islamist groups that wish to destroy the Jewish state.
“Any opportunity that we get to communicate that message to them, we will take,” the administration official added.
This is only the second time the two men have met since rapprochement began between their nations at the United Nations General Assembly last fall – after more than three decades of frozen relations.
They are to convene in Vienna with their counterparts from other world powers on Sunday primarily to discuss Iran’s nuclear program.
Officials here say are still far from a comprehensive agreement. Those talks are set to expire on July 20.