Middle East/North Africa

Kerry tries to sell Iran deal to Israel

Secretary of State John Kerry launched a full-court press on Thursday to sell the administration’s Iran deal to a skeptical Israel.

Kerry told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem that Israel’s security is “at the top of our agenda.”

Netanyahu has come under pressure from the White House to tone down its criticism of last month’s preliminary nuclear deal, which he initially called a “historic mistake.”

{mosads}“The United States will do everything in our power to make certain that Iran’s nuclear program — a program of weaponization possibilities — is terminated,” Kerry said at a joint press conference with Netanyahu. “We agree on what the goal of the final status agreement ought to be. And in the days and weeks ahead, we will consult very closely and continually with our Israeli friends in order to bring about a comprehensive agreement that can withstand everybody’s test.”

Kerry’s remarks come as the Obama administration is clashing with pro-Israel groups that are pushing for new sanctions on Capitol Hill, a move the administration thinks could spoil any chance at a peaceful resolution to the nuclear issue. 

Earlier in the day, Kerry briefed Netanyahu along with the former commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen, about U.S. plans to ensure Israel’s security amid the Iran talks.

“President Obama has designated him to play a very special role in assessing the potential threats to Israel, to the region, and ensuring that the security arrangements that we might contemplate in the context of this process will provide for greater security for Israel,” Kerry said. “This morning, General Allen and I provided Prime Minister Netanyahu and his military leadership with some thoughts about that particular security challenge. And this conversation will continue over dinner and possibly into tomorrow morning.”

Please send tips and comments to Julian Pecquet: jpecquet@thehill.com

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Tags Benjamin Netanyahu Foreign relations of Iran Iran Israel John Kerry
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