Israel security 'at top of agenda' in Iran talks: Kerry
JERUSALEM - Agence France-Presse
A handout photograph made available by the Israeli Government Press Office showing Israel's Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Jerusalem, 05 December 2013. AA PhotoUS Secretary of State John Kerry insisted Thursday that Israel's security was a top priority in talks with Iran on its controversial nuclear programme after an initial deal was signed.
"I can't emphasise enough that Israel's security in this negotiation is at the top of our agenda," Kerry told reporters after a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.
"And the United States will do everything in our power to make certain that Iran's nuclear programme of weaponisation possibilities is terminated." Kerry's remarks were aimed at calming tensions with Israel over the interim deal reached in Geneva on November 24, which saw Iran agree to roll back parts of its nuclear programme in return for limited relief from Western sanctions.
The deal was roundly condemned by Netanyahu, who called it a "historic mistake".
"We agreed on what the goal of the final status agreement (with Iran) ought to be, and in the days ahead we will consult very closely and continuously with our Israeli friends in order to bring about a comprehensive agreement that can withstand everybody's test," Kerry said.
Kerry landed in Israel late on Wednesday for a trip aimed at giving momentum to Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, which have made little apparent headway since they began under his patronage in late July.
Israel had repeatedly warned against entering an agreement with Iran, urging world powers to keep up the pressure of sanctions and threatening to carry out unilateral military action against Tehran if necessary.
Israel and many Western governments suspect that Iran's nuclear programme is a front for developing a weapons capability, a charge Tehran has repeatedly denied.