Ratney: US envisions comprehensive peace between Israel and all its neighbors, including Iran -
Ratney: US envisions comprehensive peace between Israel and all its neighbors, including Iran
In an exclusive interview with WashingtonTV on 18 December at the US Department of State in Washington, Michael A. Ratney, Press Spokesman for Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, emphasized the centrality of the Israeli-Palestinian crisis to everything else in the Middle East region for President Barak Obama from the first day he took office.
“The very first day in office, he appointed a special envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian peace, because he recognized the importance of that issue to everyone in the Arab world, to the broader Muslim world, frankly to the whole world. And so he has committed himself to that for a lot of reasons, one reason is that he knows it’s the right thing to do, but also because he knows how important it is to others in the region and because it is so important to others in the region, it becomes an important way of setting a positive and constructive atmosphere to accomplish others things we are trying to do in the region as well.”
The vision of President Obama, Ratney went on to say, included seeing Israel at living at peace with all its neighbors, “even Iran”.
12:08 “That is the president’s vision: This comprehensive peace in which Israel is living at peace with all its neighbors, Palestinians, Syrians, Lebanese, all Arabs, even Iran, in the region. 12:18
At the same time, Ratney say that Iran’s opposition to the peace-process and support for militant groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, which he said was a “fundamental part of Iran’s policy”, has created “concern” for the US administration.
“dating back quite a few years, the US concern about Iranian support – Iranian opposition to the peace-process generally, and support for groups like Hamas that are opposed to peace efforts between the Israelis and the Palestinians. So it’s not something that we ignore and it’s a fundamental part of Iranian policy that is of great concern to us and others in the region. 13:49
Another one of the chief concerns of not just the American administration, but the international community as a whole in this regard, according to Ratney, is Iran’s controversial nuclear program.
“One of the primary concerns that arose that’s been clear - not just our concern, but the concern of just about everyone in the international community – is Iran’s nuclear program. And that became central to our efforts. And it became central to the efforts of this group that we call the P5+1, the permanent members of the UN Security Council, along with Germany, and that became the principle focus of our conversations with the Iranian government. And in fact, there had been for the first time in a long time, face-to-face meetings that involved both US representatives and Iranian representatives. Now, when those meetings started it was clear to us, it was clear to everybody, that the Iranian government had other things that they wanted to talk about; they had a much broader agenda. But what we focused on, where we began that conversation was on the nuclear program, because it was there that we found not just our own government, but others in the region, others in the UN, and the UN Security Council were concerned about that nuclear program, concerns about Iran’s past activities related to their nuclear program, concerns that Iran had not been fully transparent about the nature of their nuclear program – so addressing those concerns became one of the principle objectives of our engagement.” 6:28
And among others in the region who share the great concern about Iran’s nuclear ambitions is Israel, which is at the same time one side in what the Obama administration considers to be central concern in the Middle East region, the Palestinian-Israeli crisis. In this regard, Ratney said, the U.S. and Israel recognize that they have the same goal and the same concern, but emphasized that the Am...