Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that a "military option" was "necessary" for the success of negotiations aimed at reining in Iran's disputed nuclear program. Netanyahu said the Jewish state shared US President Barack Obama's "preference" to pursue diplomacy "but for diplomacy to succeed, it must be coupled with powerful sanctions and a credible military threat." "A diplomatic solution is better than a military option but a military option is necessary for diplomacy to succeed as a powerful sanction because of the pressure," he told a forum hosted by the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank. Netanyahu's remarks follow a landmark deal between world powers and Tehran under which the Islamic state will freeze or curb some of its atomic activities in return for limited relief from crippling international sanctions.
Iran wants all foreign forces to leave Afghanistan, President Hassan Rouhani told his visiting Afghan counterpart Sunday amid a row between Kabul and Washington over a long-delayed security pact. Iran "is opposed to the presence of any foreign force in the region, the Middle East, the Persian Gulf and particularly the Islamic country of Afghanistan," Rouhani told Hamid Karzai, who was in Tehran for a one-day visit.
NATO shipments from Afghanistan via Pakistan are due to resume after the end of anti-drone protests, officials said, as US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel headed to Islamabad for talks on Monday. Hagel, who has been in Afghanistan since Saturday, will meet with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the first visit by a Pentagon chief to Pakistan for nearly four years. Ties between Washington and Islamabad have been deeply troubled over US drone strikes targeting suspected militants in Pakistan's tribal belt, while American officials have long accused Islamabad of allowing Afghan Taliban sanctuaries inside its borders.
Inspectors from the UN’s nuclear agency visit the Arak heavy water production plant for the first time in more than two years.
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Inspectors from the UN’s nuclear agency visit the Arak heavy water reactor for the first time in more than two years.
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By Jeff Mason WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Saturday defended an interim deal with Iran to curb its nuclear program and, seeking to reassure Israel, pledged to step up sanctions or prepare for a potential military strike if Tehran fails to abide by the pact. U.S. relations with Israel have been strained by the interim agreement, reached between Iran and major world powers including the United States, which was designed to halt advances in Iran's nuclear program and buy time for negotiations on a final settlement.
By William Maclean MANAMA (Reuters) – Rising naval power India has no intention of becoming a U.S.-style protector of Gulf Arab states, even if the region's states asked it to take on that role, its foreign minister said on Saturday, citing his country's avoidance of foreign military deployments not mandated by the United Nations. Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid added without elaborating that any effort by fellow Asian powers Japan and China to become a strategic security partner of the Gulf would not necessarily help secure the region, where deployed U.S. forces are currently the dominant military power. Khurshid was speaking to Reuters on the sidelines of a security conference in Bahrain that debated whether a United States increasingly self reliant in oil might show less commitment to safeguarding the Strait of Hormuz, the world's main energy artery through which 40 percent of the world's sea-borne oil exports pass. We certainly don't believe that the presence of any other power, such as China or Japan, or what have you, would necessarily contribute to the security of the region." Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel told the meeting on Saturday that the United States has a proven and enduring commitment to Middle East security, backed by diplomatic engagement as well as warplanes, ships, tanks, artillery and 35,000 troop.
The United States said Saturday it had conducted its deepest-ever analysis of Israel's security needs and believed a two-state solution with Palestinians could include sufficient guarantees to safeguard the Jewish state. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry revealed some details of the US effort to convince Israel that its security could be ensured in any final peace deal. Kerry said US Middle East security envoy General John Allen was working closely with Israeli forces to test scenarios and work out how to satisfy Israeli needs for years to come. "He is helping us make sure that the border on the Jordan River will be as strong as any in the world, so that there will be no question about the security of the citizens, Israelis and Palestinians, living to the west of it," Kerry said at the Brookings Institution's Saban Forum.
The Israeli army said on Saturday that an Israeli military vehicle had been damaged by a bomb set off on the Syrian side of the frontier of the occupied Golan Heights. The attack on Friday was thought to be the first targeted bombing of Israeli forces since the start of Syria’s civil war although the army could not confirm that was the case. Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon said Israel would not tolerate such actions and warned factions not to test the Jewish state’s resolve. On several occasions Israel has responded after stray munitions landed in Israeli-controlled territory, often aiming tank shells across the border at the sources of fire in Syria.
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