Middle East/North Africa

Kerry heads to Jerusalem to reassure Israel on Iran

Secretary of State John Kerry is headed to Jerusalem next week to reassure Israel about the Obama administration’s deal with Iran, the State Department announced Wednesday.

Kerry will meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has called last weekend’s interim agreement to loosen sanctions in exchange for Iran freezing its nuclear program a “historic mistake.” Netanyahu said earlier this week he would also be dispatching his national security adviser, Yossi Cohen, to Washington for talks with the Obama administration about what a final agreement over Iran’s nuclear program should look like.

{mosads}Israel and its allies on Capitol Hill are concerned that the preliminary deal reached in Geneva does not go far enough in setting back Iran’s nuclear program, even as it begins to take down some sanctions. They want a final deal to ban Iran from enriching uranium on its territory, a nonstarter for Iran.

Kerry will also be pushing Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to revive peace talks. Kerry helped kickstart the effort three months ago, but it has stalled among recriminations over Israeli settlements and other issues.

Before heading to Jerusalem and Ramallah, Kerry is scheduled to stop by Belgium and Moldova. 

On Tuesday and Wednesday in Brussels, he will attend NATO’s Foreign Ministerial and other meetings. Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s refusal to sign off on a deal to keep NATO forces in the country past 2014 is likely to be a main topic of conversation.

In Chisinau, Moldova, Kerry will meet with government officials to discuss bilateral issues and Moldova’s path toward European integration. Moldova has angered nearby Russia with its decision to strengthen ties with the European Union during a meeting last week where Ukraine turned its back on the EU in the wake of heavy pressure from Russia. 

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

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Tags Benjamin Netanyahu Iran Israel John Kerry Mahmoud Abbas Nuclear program of Iran

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