Kerry Updates Netanyahu on Iran Talks, Slams Khamenei's Call to Eliminate Israel

Two days of intensive talks with Iran in Oman fail to reach breakthrough ahead of the nearing deadline, American officials say.

ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
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Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, European Union adviser Catherine Ashton, Omani Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs Yussef bin Alawi and U.S Secretary of State John Kerry, in Muscat, Sunday.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, European Union adviser Catherine Ashton, Omani Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs Yussef bin Alawi and U.S Secretary of State John Kerry, in Muscat, Sunday.Credit: AP
ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

U.S. State Secretary John Kerry called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu overnight Monday after the nuclear summit with Iran in Muscat, Oman. Kerry, who called Netanyahu on his way to China, updated the prime minister over the talks' progress and the summit's results.

A senior American official noted that Kerry raised out of his own initiative Iran's Supreme Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's recent tweets calling for Israel's elimination, severely criticizing the "shocking and unacceptable" statements.

On Monday, Netanyahu recorded a video message responding to Khamenei's tweets and criticized the ongoing negotiations between the six world powers – the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany – with Iran. Netanyahu said he sent letters to the foreign ministers of the six countries with the full text of Khamenei's statements claiming for the necessity of eliminating Israel and expounding on the ways to do so. "Don't rush toward a bad deal with Iran, which will allow Iran to rush toward the bomb," Netanyahu said in the video message.

Senior American officials said Monday night that despite two days of intensive talks between Kerry, his Iranian counterpart Mohammed Javad Zarif and EU representative Catherine Ashton, no significant progress allowing to close the large divide between the sides and bring a breakthrough toward a permanent deal has been reached.

The sides have less than two weeks of negotiations before the November 24 deadline. After the summit between the foreign ministers is over, discussions are slated to continue in Oman in the next three days between the sides' negotiating teams.

"The talks were tough, direct and serious," senior American officials told reporters on Kerry's plane en route to China. "There's still work ahead." According to the officials, Kerry is set to meet President Barack Obama and National Security Adviser Susan Rice in China and brief them on the progress of the talks, discussing further negotiations.

The Iranian side has also relayed messages showing no significant progress has been achieved in the Oman summit. Iran's deputy foreign minister, Abas Arakji, who head the negotiating team, told the English language Iranian state TV station that the “negotiations in the past two days and discussions were very useful. But we are not still in a position to say that we have made progress."

He said the sides are now “working on solutions” and hope a deal can be reached.

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