U.S. President Barack Obama says he and new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani have exchanged letters about the situation in Syria, and that diplomacy backed by military threat is a model for negotiating with Tehran over its nuclear ambitions.
President Barack Obama says he and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani have exchanged letters
In a U.S. television interview broadcast Sunday, Obama said Iran should avoid thinking the United States would not launch a military strike in response to Tehran's nuclear program just because it has not attacked Syria.
He said Iranian leaders understand the U.S. concern about a potential nuclear-armed Iran "is a far larger issue" for the United States than Syria's chemical weapons.
Obama told ABC News "the threat against ... Israel that a nuclear Iran poses is much closer to our core interests," adding that "a nuclear arms race in the region" would be "profoundly destabilizing."
Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking Sunday in Jerusalem, said the recent U.S.-Russian agreement on Syria's chemical weapons also serves as a "marker" for the international community as it deals with Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program.
"The threat of force is real and the Assad regime and all those taking part need to understand that President Obama and the United States are committed to achieve this goal. We cannot have hollow words in the conduct of international affairs because that affects all other issues, whether Iran or North Korea or any other," said Kerry.
Kerry briefed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on what the U.S. secretary of state called "the most far-reaching chemical weapons removal ever," after the Israeli leader said the agreement would be judged on whether it achieved the arsenal's "complete destruction."
Standing with Kerry, Netanyahu cautiously welcomed the deal and stressed his belief that it could have deep repercussions on Iran. He said the determination the international community shows regarding Syria "will have a direct impact on the Syrian regime's patron, Iran."
Tehran's nuclear program has been one of Israel's chief concerns for years.
But Israeli leaders are also worried that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may fire his chemical weapons at the Jewish state in an act of desperation or that the weapons could fall into the hands of the Lebanese militant group, Hezbollah, or other hostile parties fighting in Syria's civil war.
CHEMICAL HYPOCRACY - Foreign Policy published an exclusive investigative report that shows for the first time that how the CIA helped Saddam Hussein as he gassed Iranian troops and civilians from 1983-1988. The fact that the US and Western European powers, particularly Germany, France, and Italy, assisted Saddam during the bloody 8-year war with Iran is not new. -Behrooz Ghamari 9/13/13
Chomsky: Instead of "Illegal" Threat to Syria, U.S. Should Back Chemical Weapons Ban in All Nations - MIT Professor Emeritus Noam Chomsky. "The Russian plan is a godsend for Obama," Chomsky says. "It saves him from what would look like a very serious defeat. He has not been able to obtain virtually any international support, and it looked as though Congress wasn't going to support it either, which would leave him completely out on a limb." -Democracy Now 9/12/13
Iran-Contra Redux? Prince Bandar Heads Secret Saudi-CIA Effort to Aid Syrian Rebels, Topple Assad - The Wall Street Journal recently revealed new details about how Prince Bandar bin Sultan al-Saud (Saudi's former ambassador to the United States) is leading the effort to prop up the Syrian rebels. Intelligence agents from Saudi Arabia, the United States, Jordan and other allied states are working at a secret joint operations center in Jordan to train and arm hand-picked Syrian rebels -Democracy Now 9/7/13 - (Part II of the interview)
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