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Kerry on Iran: No Deal is Better than Bad Deal

It is too early to talk about easing the sanctions on Iran, Kerry tells Netanyahu during a meeting in Rome.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 10/24/2013, 12:13 AM

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met on Wednesday in Rome with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

At the start of their meeting, Kerry said that "words are no substitute for actions" on the Iran nuclear issue, adding that it was too early to talk about easing sanctions on the country.

"We do welcome the change of rhetoric, the change of tone, the diplomatic opening that the Iranians have offered," Kerry said, according to AFP.

He added, however, "We are adamant that words are no substitute for actions".

"We will need to know that actions are being taken which make it crystal clear, undeniably clear, failsafe to the world that whatever program is pursued is indeed a peaceful program,” said Kerry, referring to the possibility that the sanctions on Iran will be eased.

At the same time he hailed the recent signs of openness in Iran following the election of President Hassan Rouhani and said the country should now respect the same rules as other nuclear powers.

"No deal is better than a bad deal," he said, adding, "President Obama has made it very clear he will pursue a diplomatic initiative, but with eyes wide open."

Netanyahu told Kerry that, "The foremost security problem that we face as you said is Iran's quest for nuclear weapons. Preventing that is a goal I share with you and President Obama, and you have said, I think wisely, that Iran must not have a nuclear weapons capability, which means that they shouldn't have centrifuges or enrichment. They shouldn't have a plutonium heavy water plant, which is used only for nuclear weapons. They should get rid of the advanced fissile material and they shouldn't have underground nuclear facilities, underground for one reason – for military purposes.”

“I think you're right. I think no deal is better than a bad deal. I think a partial deal that leaves Iran with these capabilities is a bad deal. You wisely insisted there wouldn't be a partial deal with Syria. You were right,” said Netanyahu, adding that “in the case of Iran, it is essential that it be made to live up to Security Council resolutions that demand an end to enrichment and enrichment capability and an end to plutonium heavy water capability toward fissile material for nuclear weapons.”

Netanyahu in his remarks also mentioned the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which re-launched several months ago.

The Prime Minister noted once again that peace “is premised on mutual recognition, of two states for two peoples, of the Palestinian state for the Palestinian people mirrored by the Jewish state for the Jewish people.

“I think that's fundamental for any peace, but equally it must be a peace that, as President Obama has said, a peace that Israel can defend by itself, for itself, against any conceivable threat. I think these are the two twin pillars for peace and I look forward to discussing how we can advance both goals in our discussions today and undoubtedly our discussions tomorrow as well."