Kerry Questions Netanyahu Opposition

Kerry Questions Netanyahu Opposition  Kerry Questions Netanyahu Opposition

US Secretary of State John Kerry has questioned the judgment of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over his stance on Iran's nuclear talks.

Netanyahu has criticized the US and other negotiating parties for "giving up" on trying to stop Iran obtaining nuclear weapons.

Iran denies the allegation that it may have been seeking to develop the capability to build nuclear weapons under the guise of a civilian program, saying its activities are only for peaceful purposes, including electricity generation.

The Israeli prime minister "may not be correct," Kerry said after attending the latest Iran nuclear talks in Geneva, BBC reported on Thursday.

Kerry was reacting to a speech in which Netanyahu had said the US and others were "accepting that Iran will gradually, within a few years, develop capabilities to produce material for many nuclear weapons."

"I respect the White House and the president of the United States but on such a fateful matter, that can determine whether or not we survive, I must do everything to prevent such a great danger for Israel," he said in a speech in Israel.

Netanyahu has been invited by Republican House Speaker John Boehner to address the US Congress next week on Iran's nuclear program. The invitation, which is seen as a rebuke to US President Barack Obama's Iran policy, has angered Democrats.  

US administration officials have been hitting back at Netanyahu's aggressive opposition to the nuclear deal they are negotiating with Iran as they are unhappy his speech to Congress will give him a platform to make his case as talks reach a critical juncture.

  Destructive Visit

Earlier, US National Security Adviser Susan Rice had gone further and said Netanyahu's visit was "destructive to the fabric of the relationship [between the US and Israel]."

Rice's comments highlighted the strain and were the most direct reference by a senior official to the damage caused by the controversy over the visit. The Hill also reported that the White House was pushing back against the assertion by Netanyahu that world powers have "given up" stopping Iran's nuclear work.

"The whole point of the ongoing negotiations between Iran and the United States and our international partners is to resolve the international community's concerns with the Iranian nuclear program and to secure an agreement that would ensure that Iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon," press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters on Air Force One on Wednesday.

Earnest also addressed Wednesday's comments from Rice about Netanyahu's upcoming address, saying, "What Susan was referring to is how reducing the US-Israeli relationship to just a relationship between two political parties is destructive to a relationship between our two countries that for generations had been strengthened through bipartisan cooperation, not just in this country but in Israel," he said.  Earnest added that the idea that Netanyahu's visit is destructive is "entirely consistent with what the president has already said."