Obama, Netanyahu discuss Iran

Washington - US President Barack Obama spoke to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about Iran on Monday, a day after the Israeli leader warned Tehran could convert uranium into weapons-grade material within weeks.

The White House said in a short statement that the leaders discussed Iran, Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts and other key issues.

Secretary of State John Kerry later stressed diplomacy as the route to test.

Netanyahu warned on Sunday that Iran is capable of converting low-grade uranium to material suitable for use in a weapons programme with weeks - even as Washington pursues diplomatic efforts to ease the nuclear showdown.

"The important part stems from technological improvements which allow Iran to enrich uranium from 3.5% to 90% in a number of weeks," his office quoted him as saying at a cabinet meeting.

Netanyahu is demanding increased pressure on Iran and has expressed scepticism about a diplomatic opening pioneered by new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani which he has called a "charm offensive".

‘Fear tactics’

Iran is to hold a new round of talks on the issue with six world powers in Geneva on 7-8 November. This follows a round this month that resumed long stalled negotiations.

Israel is demanding four conditions before international sanctions on Iran are eased: a halt to all uranium enrichment; the removal of all enriched uranium from its territory; the closure of an underground nuclear facility in Qom; and a halt to construction of a plutonium reactor.

The Obama administration has said it is important to test the sincerity of Iran's promise to hold serious discussions on a nuclear programme that the West says is geared towards producing weapons - a charge Tehran denies.

Kerry forcefully defended diplomacy as the way to try to resolve the dispute, in an apparent riposte to Israel.

In a speech on Monday night at a disarmament forum, Kerry said the United States has "an opportunity to try to put to test whether or not Iran really desires to pursue only a peaceful programme, and will submit to the standards of the international community in the effort to prove that to the world."

He added: "I suggest that the idea that the United States of America, as a responsible nation to all of humankind, would not explore that possibility would be the height of irresponsibility".

In response to the Israeli demand for more pressure, Kerry said "some have suggested that somehow there's something wrong" with giving diplomacy a chance.

"We will not succumb to those fear tactics and forces that suggest otherwise," Kerry said.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
What are your thoughts on the possibility of having permanent Stage 2 or 3 load shedding?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
I'll take that over constant schedule changes
13% - 501 votes
Why are we normalising Eskom’s mess?
72% - 2787 votes
I've already found alternative ways of powering my home/business
15% - 558 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
17.19
-0.0%
Rand - Pound
21.26
+0.4%
Rand - Euro
18.70
+0.1%
Rand - Aus dollar
12.22
+0.1%
Rand - Yen
0.13
-0.3%
Platinum
1,014.13
+1.0%
Palladium
1,673.78
+0.4%
Gold
1,931.36
+0.1%
Silver
23.77
-0.6%
Brent Crude
87.47
+1.5%
Top 40
74,915
+0.6%
All Share
80,955
+0.6%
Resource 10
78,343
+0.2%
Industrial 25
103,896
+0.7%
Financial 15
16,301
+0.7%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE