“We applaud the steps that have been taken toward normalization with Israel… These are very important, and we want to build on them.”
https://www.jpost.com-By OMRI NAHMIAS
“It remains our view that jurisdiction is reserved when a state consents to it, or if there’s a referral by the United Nations security council,” said Blinken. “Neither is true in the case of Israel and the Palestinian matter, nor is it true in the case of [the US] in Afghanistan.”
Speaking about the recent normalization agreements between Israel and four Arab countries during the Trump administration, Blinken said: “We applaud the steps that have been taken toward normalization with Israel by a number of countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, [and] Morocco. These are very important, and we want to build on them.”
He also addressed the administration position regarding the nuclear agreement with Iran, and said that the 2015 JCPOA put Iran’s nuclear program “in a box” and “cut off its pathways to producing fissile material for nuclear weapons on short order.”
“When we pulled out of the agreement, the Iranians had started to lift the constraints that were imposed on them by the agreement,” said Blinken. He noted that under the agreement, the “breakout time” had been pushed past a year.
“And now, according to public reports, it’s three to four months and potentially getting shorter and shorter,” he added.
“So I think we have an interest in getting Iran back into that nuclear box,” said Blinken. “We have fundamental problems with Iran’s actions across a whole series of things, whether it is support for terrorism, whether it’s a ballistic missile program – it’s increasingly dangerous, whether it’s destabilizing actions throughout the region. And Iran with a nuclear weapon or with a threshold capacity to have one, is an Iran is likely to act with even greater impunity when it comes to those things, so we have a real incentive to do that.”
He went on to say that “the most sustainable way to do that is through tough-minded diplomacy,” and that the administration made clear that it is prepared to re-engage in that diplomacy. “There was an invitation from the European union to all of the parties, to the JCPOA including Iran, including the United States,” he added. “We said we would attend; Iran so far has said no. I think the ball is in their court to see if they’re serious about re-engaging or not.”
Asked about the administration’s decision to re-join the UN Human Rights Council, Blinken said he shares the concerns about how the organization is “unfairly singling out Israel.”
“When we were a member of the council, we managed to turn off a lot of those efforts; when we were outside the council, no one was there to do it,” he said.
Asked about the way that returning to the JCPOA could affect Israel, Blinken said: “We have an unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security, and it starts with the president of the United States, who has been a long and strong supporter of Israel, its security, and the relationship with the United States. That is something that is going to continue.”
He went on to say that “when it comes to something like the Iran nuclear agreement, we are committed to working, consulting, and talking to our closest partners and allies, including Israel, including the Gulf States, regarding anything that we might do going forward on that agreement. We need to be engaged with them since it affects them, too, on the takeoff, not on the landing. And we’re committed to doing that.”