National Security Brief: Kerry Stresses Diplomacy With Iran

The Wall Street Journal reports that the international community should continue a diplomatic approach with Iran in efforts to curtail its nuclear program, despite a lack of progress in talks this weekend between the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, plus Germany, and Iran.

“There was somewhat of a gap that remains, obviously, as a consequence of the discussions that they had in Almaty, [Kazakhstan],” Kerry said. “But the door is still open to doing that, and yes, indeed, it is important to continue to talk and to try to find the common ground.”

The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, said that both sides “remain far apart on the substance” after the latest round of talks in Almaty, but one American official told the New York Times: “There may not have been a breakthrough, but there also was not a breakdown.”

Meanwhile, Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz urged the international coalition pressing Iran on its nuclear program to move closer to military action. “Sanctions are not enough and the talks are not enough. The time has come to place before the Iranians a military threat or a form of red line, an unequivocal red line by the entire world, by the United States and the West … in order to get results,” he said. He added that military action should be taken within “a few weeks, a month” if Iran does not stop enriching uranium.


In other news:

  • The Journal also reported on Friday: The White House, under pressure from key allies and U.S. lawmakers, is reviewing a new set of potential military options for assisting rebels in Syria, according to U.S. officials. Among the ideas were proposals to bomb Syrian aircraft on the ground and to use Patriot antimissile batteries in Turkey to defend swaths of northern Syria from the regime’s Scud missiles, they said.
  • In another Journal story from Monday: Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday stepped into the growing tensions on the Korean peninsula with a carefully worded warning that no country should be allowed to destabilize the world.
  • Bloomberg reports: The Pentagon will request $9.16 billion for missile defense programs for the 2014 fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, about $550 million less than this year’s $9.71 billion, according to internal budget figures obtained by Bloomberg News.

(Photo: Reuters)