U.S. Rejects Ahmadinejad's Call To Choose Between Israel and Iran

By Natasha Mozgovaya (Haaretz) and Haaretz Service and Agencies

Published November 13, 2009.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The United States on Friday rejected a call by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for it to choose between supporting Israel or Iran.

“Israel is a very, very close friend of the U.S., and we don’t think we have to choose between Israel or any other country,” State Department Spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters.

Ahmadinejad told a conference in Turkey on Wednesday that that U.S. President Barack Obama should make a choice in order to fulfill his campaign promise of change.

In his briefing on Friday, Kelly added: “We want to have productive, meaningful relations with all countries in the region.”

Earlier Friday, Obama and Japan Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama the governments said in a joint statement that Iran and North Korea must uphold their international obligations on their nuclear programs.

The statement added that the governments of the U.S. and Japan welcomed “the renewed international attention and commitment to achieve the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons and confirm their determination to realize such a world.”

Iran’s chief of staff, meanwhile, told the French news agency AFP on Friday that Iran should advance the Un-drafted deal that will see Tehran sending uranium to be enriched abroad, adding that such a move would prove the peaceful intentions of the country’s nuclear program.

“In obtaining fuel enriched to 20 percent purity for the Tehran reactor, a million of our citizens will benefit from the medical treatment it can enable and we will prove at the same time the bona fides of our peaceful nuclear activities.” Hassan Firouzabadi said.

Hassan Firouzabadi was thus referring to a proposed transfer of about 1.2 tons of low-enriched uranium that Iran produces in Natanz to Russia, where it would be enriched to 20 percent, then transferred to France for industrial processing, after which it would be returned to the Tehran Research Reactor, which produces medical isotopes.

The UN-drafted deal was drawn up in an attempt to assuage international fears that Iran could divert some of its uranium stocks and enrich them further to a weapon’s grade enrichment levels.

Although Iranian officials had claimed that the proposed deal could cause a shortage of nuclear fuel, thus doing Iran more harm than good, the country’s army chief said Tehran would not”suffer from an exchange of fuel.”

“The quantity of uranium enriched to 3.5 percent that will be shipped out in order to obtain the fuel is not so large as to cause damage,” he added.

Last week, a powerful hard-line Iranian cleric, Ahmad Khatami, said the UN nuclear watchdog is legally obliged to provide Iran with nuclear fuel for its research reactor without setting any conditions, such as shipping some of its uranium to be enriched out of the country.

In an attack on the UN-drafted deal regarding Tehran’s nuclear program, Khatami saked: “Why should we send our low enriched uranium abroad? … who can guarantee that you will then provide us with the needed fuel?”

Katami also said Iran had no intention of yielding to the West’s pressure over its nuclear program.

“No one has traded over the Iranian nation’s legitimate nuclear right,” said the cleric in the sermon, which was broadcast live.

Find us on Facebook!
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • Mixed marriages in Israel are tough in times of peace. So, how do you maintain a family bubble in the midst of war? http://jd.fo/f4VeG
  • Despite the escalating violence in Israel, more and more Jews are leaving their homes in Alaska to make aliyah: http://jd.fo/g4SIa
  • The Workmen's Circle is hosting New York’s first Jewish street fair on Sunday. Bring on the nouveau deli!
  • Novelist Sayed Kashua finds it hard to write about the heartbreak of Gaza from the plush confines of Debra Winger's Manhattan pad. Tough to argue with that, whichever side of the conflict you are on.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?

We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.