WASHINGTON: The US State Department has rejected Israel’s demand that the Obama administration should persuade Iran to recognise the Jewish state before signing a final nuclear deal with it.
“This is an agreement that is only about the nuclear issue,” said the department’s spokeswoman Marie Harf.
“We have purposefully kept that separate from every other issue.”
The Israeli cabinet demanded last week that “a clear and unambiguous Iranian recognition” of Israel’s right to exist should be a part of the deal.
But Ms Harf pointed out that the nuclear issue was “complicated enough to deal with on its own” and there was no need to attach other issues to it.
The US official said the United States had serious differences with Iran on several other issues, such as its “poor” human rights record and its alleged support for terrorism. But those issues were also excluded from the nuclear talks, she added. “If you try to deal with every regional issue that we had problems with that Iran was doing, I’m not sure how long those negotiations would take, but the nuclear issue is tough enough as it is,” she said. “On those other issues, we have other ways of combating and countering that.”
While identifying those other issues, Ms Harf also included security concerns of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states who fear that the nuclear deal will encourage Iran to expand its influence in the region.
Published in Dawn, April 7th, 2015