Blog-Archive

The P5+1’s First Step Agreement With Iran on its Nuclear Program

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Opening Remarks Before the House Foreign Affairs Committee
Washington, DC
December 10, 2013

 


 

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, Mr. Chairman, thank you very, very much. Ranking Member Engel, Members of the Committee, thanks very much for welcoming me back, and I am happy to be back here. There’s no more important issue in American foreign policy than the question of the one we’re focused on here today.

And obviously, from the Chairman’s introduction, you know that I come here with an enormous amount of respect for your prerogatives on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, as we did in the Senate. And it’s entirely appropriate that we’re here to satisfy your questions, hopefully allay your concerns and fears, because I believe the agreement that we have ought to do that and I think the path that we’re on should do that. And as I describe it to you, I hope you’ll leave here today with a sense of confidence that we know what we’re doing, our eyes are open, we have no illusions. It’s a tough road. I don’t come here with any guarantees whatsoever. And I think none of what we’ve done in this agreement begs that notion. In other words, everything is either verifiable or clear, and there are a set of requirements ahead of us which will even grow more so in the course of a comprehensive agreement. And we can talk about that – I’m sure we will – in the course of the day.

Let me just begin by saying that President Obama and I have both been very clear, as every member of this committee has been, that Iran must not acquire a nuclear weapon. And it is the President’s centerpiece of his foreign policy: Iran will not acquire a nuclear weapon. This imperative is at the top of our national security agenda, and I know it’s at the top of yours as well. So I really do welcome the opportunity to have a discussion not only about what the first-step agreement does, but also to clarify – I hope significantly – what it doesn’t do, because there’s a certain, as there is in any of these kinds of things, a certain mythology that sometimes grows up around them. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

Political Cartoons Reflect US-Iran Gap

The new diplomatic initiative between Iran and the world’s six major powers has inspired cynical political cartoonists on all sides. But the sharpest cartoons have run in the Iranian and American press. They reflect longstanding suspicions between the two nations, which have not had relations for 34 years, about whether the talks in Geneva will produce a deal resolving the controversy over Iran’s nuclear program— and ensuring that Iran can have nuclear energy without a capability to produce a bomb. The following are a selection of cartoons reflecting the skepticism about each other’s true intentions.

From the Iranian Press

 

            “From now on, heavy work, like talks with America and the European Union, is forbidden. You can only do light work…“
            Zarif attended the first round of talks in a wheelchair due to intense back pain. He attributed the muscle spasms to stress from hardliner criticism of his meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry in September in New York. Zarif lay on a bed during his flight to Iran.

             In Tehran, the failure of the second round of talks were widely blamed on France’s last minute stipulations.

From the American Press

 

 

 

Hanif Z. Kashani, a consultant for the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Middle East Program, contributed to this roundup.

Source: USIP

Election: US Reacts to Results

In two separate statements, the United States called on the Iranian government to heed its people’s will after the surprise election of Hassan Rouhani in the first round of presidential elections. The Obama administration also “remains ready to engage with the Iranian government directly” to reach a diplomatic solution in the long standoff over Tehran’s controversial nuclear program.

Statement by the White House Press Secretary
            We have seen the announcement by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran that Hojjatoleslam Doctor Hassan Rouhani has been declared the winner of Iran’s presidential election.  We respect the vote of the Iranian people and congratulate them for their participation in the political process, and their courage in making their voices heard.  Yesterday’s election took place against the backdrop of a lack of transparency, censorship of the media, Internet, and text messages, and an intimidating security environment that limited freedom of expression and assembly.  However, despite these government obstacles and limitations, the Iranian people were determined to act to shape their future.
            It is our hope that the Iranian government will heed the will of the Iranian people and make responsible choices that create a better future for all Iranians.  The United States remains ready to engage the Iranian government directly in order to reach a diplomatic solution that will fully address the international community’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear program.
Statement by Secretary of State John Kerry
            We have seen the announcement by Iran’s Interior Ministry that Hassan Rouhani has been declared the winner of the country’s 11th presidential election.
            We admire the courage of the Iranian people who went to the polls and made their voices heard in a rigidly controlled environment that sought to limit freedom of expression and assembly. We remain concerned about the lack of transparency in the electoral process, and the attempts to censor members of the media, the internet, and text messages. Despite these challenges, however, the Iranian people have clearly expressed their desire for a new and better future.
            President-elect Rouhani pledged repeatedly during his campaign to restore and expand freedoms for all Iranians. In the months ahead, he has the opportunity to keep his promises to the Iranian people.
            We, along with our international partners, remain ready to engage directly with the Iranian government. We hope they will honor their international obligations to the rest of the world in order to reach a diplomatic solution that will fully address the international community’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear program.

 

Eye on Iran: Dictator’s Account – Now Also Pressure on Twitter

Top Stories

Die Welt (German): „Twitter is now subject to criticism for hosting the accounts of Iranian officials who are forcibly denying their electorate access to the internet in their country. Recently, the American lobbying organization United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) appealed in an open letter to Facebook, calling for a shutdown of the Supreme Spiritual Leader Ali Khamenei’s site. Now the initiators have contacted Twitter in relation to Khamenei’s account: ‚The Iranian regime is using the account to spread its propaganda, while it excludes its own citizens from Twitter,‘ reads a letter from UANI boss Mark Wallace, who was the U.S. ambassador to the UN from 2006 to 2008. Wallace also reminds Twitter CEO Dick Costolo of the cruel persecution of opposition supporters who used the platform to publicly protest in the aftermath of the disputed 2009 presidential election. But the restriction of Internet freedom in Iran is also associated with brutal repression in other ways. Just last year, the well-known dissident blogger Sattar Beheshti was arrested and died in prison – apparently as a result of torture. The UANI activists are asking Twitter CEO Costolo how this fits with his own remarks praising Twitter’s role in the ‚Arab Spring‘ and declaring that the short message service could ‚change the world‘ by giving a voice to ‚people who have not previously had one.‘ Unlike the oppressed Iranian opposition, the Supreme Spiritual Leader used his Twitter account for rabble rousing. Thus, the letter quotes Khamenei’s tweets to the protesters of the ‚Arab Spring‘: ‚The activists of the Islamic awakening must be vigilant against the unpleasant and horrific experience of Western lifestyle.‘ Or: ‚Israelis a vile entity in the Middle East, which will undoubtedly be destroyed.'“ http://t.uani.com/186x9Rc  Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

Regarding Significant Reductions of Iranian Crude Oil Purchases

Press Statement

John Kerry, Secretary of State

 


 

The United States and the international community stand shoulder to shoulder in maintaining pressure on the Iranian regime until it fully addresses concerns about its nuclear program. That is why today I am pleased to announce that China, India, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey, and Taiwan have again qualified for an exception to sanctions outlined in section 1245 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2012, based on additional significant reductions in the volume of their crude oil purchases from Iran or for reducing those purchases to zero and remaining there. As a result, I will report to the Congress that exceptions to sanctions pursuant to Section 1245 of the NDAA for certain transactions will apply to the financial institutions based in these jurisdictions for a potentially renewable period of 180 days.

Today’s determination is another example of the international community’s strong and steady commitment to convince Iran to meet its international obligations. A total of 20 countries and economies have continued to significantly reduce the volume of their crude oil purchases from Iran or have completely eliminated such purchases. This determination takes place against the backdrop of other recent actions the Administration has taken to increase pressure on Iran, including the issuance of a new Executive Order on June 3. The message to the Iranian regime from the international community is clear: take concrete actions to satisfy the concerns of the international community, or face increasing isolation and pressure.

 

US: Earthquake Near Iran-Pakistan Border

Press Statement

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
April 16, 2013

 


 

The United States sends our deepest condolences for those lost in the earthquake in southeastern Iran and western Pakistan today. Our thoughts are with the families of those who were killed, those who were injured, and with those communities that have suffered damage to homes and property. We stand ready to offer assistance in this difficult time.

 

Regarding Significant Reductions of Iranian Crude Oil Purchases

John Kerry
Secretary of State:

The United States and the international community remain committed to maintaining pressure on the Iranian regime until it fully addresses concerns about its nuclear program. That is why today I am pleased to announce that based on additional significant reductions in the volume of its crude oil purchases from Iran, Japan has again qualified for an exception to sanctions outlined in Section 1245 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2012.

Additionally, 10 European Union countries – Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and the United Kingdom – have also qualified for a renewal of the NDAA exception because they have not purchased Iranian oil since July 1, 2012, pursuant to a decision made by the whole of the European Union in January 2012. As a result, I will report to the Congress that exceptions to sanctions pursuant to Section 1245 of the NDAA for certain transactions will apply to the financial institutions based in these countries for a potentially renewable period of 180 days.

Today’s determination is another example of the international community’s commitment to convince Iran to meet its international obligations. A total of 20 countries and economies have continued to significantly reduce the volume of their crude oil purchases from Iran. The message to the Iranian regime from the international community is clear: take concrete actions to satisfy the concerns of the international community, or face increasing isolation and pressure.

 

The Mysterious Case of Robert Levinson

Robert Levinson, a retired FBI agent, disappeared from Iran’s Kish Island on March 9, 2007. He was reportedly investigating cigarette smuggling while working as a private investigator. Levinson’s family first received evidence that he was alive in November 2010. In the 54-second video, Levinson asked for a U.S. government response to his captors‘ demands, which have not been publicized.

In March 2011, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that new information indicated that Levinson was being held in southwest Asia. His unidentified captors sent a set of photographs to his family the following month. Levinson, dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit, held a sign bearing a different message in each photo. “This is the result of 30 years serving for USA,” one read.

On March 8, 2013 Secretary of State John Kerry called on Iran to uphold its offer to help find LevinsonTehran responded two days later. “We are ready to cooperate through the intelligence entities to shed light on this issue,” Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi reportedly said on March 10. The following is a statement by Secretary Kerry and remarks by Foreign Minister Salehi.

Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi
            “We have said many times that we do not have any information in this regard…”
            “We have repeatedly announced that we are ready to cooperate on humanitarian ground to find… how he disappeared… We are ready to cooperate through the intelligence entities to shed light on this issue. I once again repeat that this person is not in Iran and the Americans have already acknowledged this.” March 10, according to ISNA and IRNA news agencies
Press Statement by Secretary of State John Kerry
March 8, 2013
            Tomorrow marks the sixth anniversary of the disappearance of U.S. citizen Robert Levinson, a retired FBI agent who went missing in Iran on March 9, 2007.
            A husband and father to seven children, Mr. Levinson has missed birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, and other important milestones since his disappearance six years ago from Iran’s Kish Island. He is also the grandfather of two, the second of which was born in his absence.
            The United States continues to welcome the assistance of our international partners in this investigation and calls on the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to uphold its offer to help find Mr. Levinson and return him safely to his family.
            I met with Mr. Levinson’s wife and son today to reiterate that the U.S. Government remains committed to locating Mr. Levinson and reuniting him safely with his family.
            Last year the FBI announced a $1 million reward for information on Mr. Levinson’s whereabouts that could lead to his safe return. Anyone who may have information about this case is asked to contact the FBI.
Photo Credit: Released by the Levinson family.
Source: USIP

 

Kerry: Nuke talks cannot go on forever

 On March 4, Secretary of State John Kerry and Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Saud al Faisal warned that the window for diplomacy cannot remain open indefinitely for Iran. Talks on the controversial nuclear program “cannot become an instrument for delay that in the end make the situation more dangerous,” Kerry told members of the press in Riyadh. “We can’t be like philosophers who keep talking about how many angels a pinhead can hold.  We have to talk seriously…” al Faisal echoed.

            Kerry argued that “you cannot have a more peaceful world when a country that exports terror and is involved in the internal affairs of other countries and breaking its own agreements with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty…” He stressed that U.S. efforts to curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions are part of a larger mission to stop nuclear proliferation.They are not “anti-Iranian,” Kerry said.

            Iran also came up in remarks on Syria. Al Faisal said that Saudi Arabia has a moral duty to protect Syrians from slaughter, and that it will “do everything within its capabilities” to provide aid and security. Kerry seemed to caution against arming rebels, noting that weapons could eventually fall into the wrong hands. But “bad actors, regrettably, have no shortage of their ability to get weapons from Iran, from Hezbollah, from Russia,” Kerry said. The following are excerpts from remarks by Foreign Minister al Faisal and Secretary Kerry, followed by a link to the full transcript. Lies den Rest dieses Beitrags

Horst Teltschik: Iran-Politik des Westens von Anfang an falsch

Im Gespräch mit EurActiv.de zieht Horst Teltschik, selbst langjähriger Chef der Münchner Sicherheitskonferenz, kritische Bilanz des jüngsten Treffens und analysiert, warum die westliche Iran-Politik von Anfang an falsch war, wie der Westen die Konflikte in der iranischen Führung für sich nutzen soll, warum die EU-Chefdiplomatin Catherine Ashton ihren Job falsch versteht und warum Margaret Thatcher cleverer war als David Cameron.

Zur Person

Horst Teltschik (72) leitete von 1999 bis 2008 die Münchner Sicherheitskonferenz. Zuvor war er außenpolitischer Berater von Bundeskanzler Helmut Kohl und stellvertretender Kanzleramtschef, dann Geschäftsführer der Bertelsmann-Stiftung, Vorstandsmitglied bei BMW und „President Boeing Deutschland“. Weltweit bekannt wurde er als Chef der Münchner Sicherheitskonferenz. Als internationaler Politikberater ist er nach wie vor gefragt.

 

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EurActiv.de: Soeben erteilte der iranische Ayatollah Ali Khamenei den bilateralen Gesprächen mit den USA eine klare Abfuhr. Dabei war das Angebot dieser bilateralen Gespräche gerade erst in der Münchner Sicherheitskonferenz entstanden. Was soll der Westen von der Reaktion des Ayatollah halten?

TELTSCHIK: Die Absage von Ayatollah Ali Khamenei an bilaterale Gespräche mit den USA ist natürlich mehr als bedauerlich. Seine Aussagen sowie die von Präsident Mahmud Ahmadinedschad diese Woche in Kairo und auch die des iranischen Außenministers Ali Akbar Salehi auf der Münchner Sicherheitskonferenz zeigen erneut, dass es in der iranischen Führung nicht nur erhebliche Meinungsunterschiede gibt, sondern im Vorfeld der Präsidentenwahl härter werdende Machtkämpfe.

EurActiv.de: Wie sollte sich der Westen jetzt verhalten?

TELTSCHIK: Es geht jetzt darum, wer den ersten Zug macht. Der Westen könnte die Konflikte innerhalb der iranischen Führung verstärken und durch eine wohlüberlegte Vorleistung für sich nutzen.

Jedenfalls muss er weiterhin verhandlungsbereit bleiben, denn die Gespräche mit der Internationalen Atomenergieorganisation in Wien (IAEO) gehen weiter, und das Gespräch P5+1 (USA, Russland, China, Großbritannien, Frankreich mit Deutschland) soll nach wie vor stattfinden.

EurActiv.de: Ist 2013 dennoch etwas Bewegung oder so etwas wie ein Durchbruch im iranisch-westlichen Verhältnis zu erwarten?

TELTSCHIK: Der iranische Präsident wird ja demnächst aus seinem Amt ausscheiden. Wir wissen nicht, wer ihm nachfolgt. Vielleicht der jetzige Parlamentspräsident, Ali Laridschani, der war der erste Iraner, der nach München zu meiner Konferenz kam. Das war zwar nicht sehr erhellend. Aber immerhin: Er kam.

Ob Laridschani als neuer Präsident flexibler wäre, wissen wir nicht. Er wird es vorher nicht andeuten. Wenn Syrien für die Iraner wegbricht, sind sie geschwächt. Sie hätten dann keinen politischen Counterpart.

Es hängt auch vom Verhalten der Israelis ab. Wenn die Israelis glauben, sie müssten die Verhandlungen zwischen Iran und den USA nicht abwarten, weil es für sie gefährlich sein könne, wenn sich die Amerikaner auf ein Spiel einlassen, und sie glauben, intervenieren zu müssen, wäre das eine Katastrophe. In diesem Zusammenhang halte ich Benjamin Netanjahu für unberechenbar.

Was US-Präsident Barack Obama machen und ob er sich engagieren wird, weiß man nicht. Wird sich Außenminister John Kerry, wie er es angekündigt hat, um den palästinensisch-isrealischen Konflikt kümmen? Wird er Druck auf Israel ausüben

EurActiv.de: Und wird er von beiden Seiten akzeptiert?

TELTSCHIK: Sobald die Palästinenser das Gefühl haben, Kerry will wirklich eine Zweistaatenlösung, werden sie ihn akzeptieren. Bei Netanjahu bin ich mir nicht sicher. Das ist eine große Unbekannte.

EurActiv.de: Hätte sich der Westen gegenüber Iran anders verhalten sollen?

TELTSCHIK: Ich persönlich bin der Meinung, dass die Politik gegenüber Iran von Anfang an falsch ist. Die Sanktionen haben zwar gewisse Wirkung, aber werden unterlaufen von Indien, von China, von dem einen oder anderen Golfstaat, auch von russischer und von türkischer Seite. Ich hab das schon erlebt, als der Irak mit Sanktionen überzogen war.

Als in Iran die Barbie-Puppen verboten und alle Geschäfte durchsucht wurden, hätte ich Barbie-Puppen abgeworfen und das Land mit Barbie-Puppen überzogen. Ich hätte sie korrumpiert. Die Iraner lieben mehrheitlich den American Way of Life. Dem würde ich auf allen Ebenen entsprechen, aber nicht Sanktionen verhängen.

Auf meiner letzten Sicherheitskonferenz hatte ich sogar eine offizielle Anfrage von Iran, ob ich nicht Mahmud Ahmadinedschad einlade. Der wollte zur Konferenz kommen. Das wäre ja eine Bombe gewesen. Es war mir dann aber doch zu brisant. Aber wer weiß, was er gesagt hätte. Vielleicht hätte es Bewegung gegeben. Doch ich musste befürchten, dass die amerikanische Delegation nicht kommt. In solchen Fragen sollte man ruhig mutiger sein.

EurActiv.de: Sie haben von 1999 bis 2008 die Münchner Sicherheitskonferenz geleitet. Wie lautet Ihr Resümee der 49. Konferenz, die vor wenigen Tagen zu Ende ging? Was hat sie gebracht?

TELTSCHIK: Die Münchner Sicherheitskonferenz hat erneut bewiesen, dass sie die bedeutendste Sicherheitskonferenz weltweit ist. Ihre Bedeutung liegt in zwei Dingen:

Die, die kommen und reden dürfen, nutzen die Konferenz sehr häufig für Botschaften. Jüngstes Beispiel war eben der iranische Außenminister mit der Botschaft, dass sein Land zu bilateralen Gesprächen mit den USA bereit sei. Umgekehrt sagte US-Vizepräsident Joe Biden, dass die Amerikaner zu bilateralen – also nicht nur zu den multilateralen – Gesprächen bereit sind. Für die Weltöffentlichkeit waren das doch klare Botschaften.

Zweitens bietet sich die Chance, dass sich die Parteien, die oft aus politischen Gründen nicht in der Öffentlichkeit aufeinandertreffen wollen, sich auf dieser privaten Konferenz ohne Protokoll und ohne Medien in Suiten treffen und austauschen können. Für die Konfliktparteien können sich aus diesen informellen dann offizielle Gesprächsebenen entwickeln.

Die Konferenz kann keine Konflikte lösen. Das wäre eine Illusion. Aber sie ist eine Art Resonanzboden.

EurActiv.de: Es zeigten sich aber auch Defizite der Konferenz. Ist der Rummel nicht zu groß für fruchtbringenden Meinungsaustausch?

TELTSCHIK: Das größte Problem der Konferenz ist es für den Veranstalter, Nein sagen zu müssen: Nein, Sie können nicht teilnehmen. Oder: Sie können teilnehmen, aber nicht reden. Jeder Präsident, jeder Regierungschef, jeder Minister will reden. Doch bei fünfzig Ministern: No way!

Da geht es meinem Nachfolger Wolfgang Ischinger nicht besser als mir damals. Man sagt zu wenig Nein, man lässt zu viele Reden zu, man hat zu viele Foren, sodass kaum noch Diskussion stattfindet. Wenn jeder auf dem Podium fünf Minuten reden soll, aber zehn Minuten spricht, und wenn die Moderatoren – Ischinger moderiert ja nicht selbst, sondern lässt moderieren – einleitend selber 10, 15 Minuten reden, dann bleibt keine Zeit für Diskussion. Dann gibt es vielleicht noch ein, zwei schriftliche Fragen, bei denen man nicht einmal mehr den Frager erlebt. Ich habe diese Erfahrungen anfangs auch gemacht. Da muss man daraus lernen.

Ferner: Die Konferenz muss natürlich immer die aktuellen Themen aufgreifen. Es gibt Standardthemen, die zur Tradition gehören. Die transatlantischen Beziehungen müssen immer auf der Agenda stehen. Aktuelle Themen waren diesmal Mali und natürlich Syrien und Iran.

Aus Syrien kam ein Führer der Opposition, der sehr vage war in seinen Aussagen. Da wäre es gut gewesen, wenn man hätte nachfragen können: Wer seid ihr denn, wenn Baschar al-Assad stürzt? Was vertritt ihr eigentlich?

Auch Sergei Lawrow, der russiche Außenminister, war viel zu vage. Lehnt jeden Eingriff ab. Aber was ist denn die Alternative? Auch da gab es keine Möglichkeit nachzufragen.

Das Thema Syrien war inhaltlich jedenfalls nicht erleuchtend.

 

Quelle: EurActiv.de

 

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