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Netanyahu with Obama (Archives) Photo: AFP
Netanyahu with Obama (Archives) Photo: AFP
 
 

US rebuffs Israel, says red line on Iran 'not useful'

State Department says Israel shouldn't question President Obama's commitment to barring Iran from obtaining atom weapons with demand for deadline

Yitzhak Benhorin, AFP
Published: 09.10.12, 23:00 / Israel News

WASHINGTON - The United States on Monday rebuffed a bid by Israel to convince it to declare "red lines" that Iran must not cross if it is to avoid international action over its nuclear program.

 

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters that, while US President Barack Obama "has said unequivocally he will not allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon," the idea of deadlines or red lines was "not useful."

 

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Earlier, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Jerusalem is in talks with Washington about laying down a clear threshold for action over Iran's nuclear program.

 

"Iran will not stop unless it sees clear determination by the democratic countries of the world and a clear red line," Netanyahu told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).

 

But the State Department distanced Washington from the Israeli stance, which would be seen by many as locking the United States and Iran into a logic of confrontation that could quickly escalate into military action.

 

"The American people know that the president has said unequivocally he will not allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon," Nuland said.

 

"So, you know, we are absolutely firm about the president's commitment here, but it is not useful to be parsing it, to be setting deadlines one way or the other, red lines," she said, promising "intensive consultations with Israel."

 

Not setting any deadlines

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had earlier played down talk of imposing a timetable on Iran.

 

"I think we've maintained a steady course of our two-pronged policy," Clinton told Bloomberg radio Sunday at the end of a trip to Asia.

 

"We have always said every option was on the table, but we believe in the negotiation, the diplomatic effort through the P5+1, but also pressure," she added in the remarks released Monday.

 

Washington and Western nations accuse Iran of seeking a nuclear weapons capability under the guise of a civilian program. Tehran denies the charges.

 

Clinton said tight sanctions imposed on Iran were having an effect, and that the group of nations leading negotiations would continue working on the issue even though negotiations with Tehran have ground to a halt.

 

The group comprises the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, and the European Union.

 

It will meet in New York in the coming weeks on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Clinton said.

 

"We're not setting deadlines. We're watching very carefully about what they do, because it's always been more about their actions and their words," she said, in an interview given in Vladivostok during Asia-Pacific talks.

 

"So, you know, we are absolutely firm about the president's commitment here, but it is not useful to be parsing it, to be setting deadlines one way or the other, red lines," she said, promising "intensive consultations with Israel."

 

 

 

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