Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Obama at UN: Iran nuclear program, Arab-Israeli conflict source of instability


A cartoon by Nathan Moskowitz.

JNS.org—In his speech at the United Nations General Assembly last Tuesday, U.S. President Barack Obama named Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and advancing Arab-Israeli peace as two of his top foreign policy issues.

“In the near term, America’s diplomatic efforts will focus on two particular issues: Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, and the Arab-Israeli conflict,” Obama said.

Obama said these two issues “have been a major source of instability for far too long, and resolving them can help serve as a foundation for a broader peace.”

The president expressed hope that calls by Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, for engagement over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program would lead to a breakthrough. But Obama added that “conciliatory words will have to be matched by actions that are transparent and verifiable.”

The U.S. and Iran are pushing ahead this week with high-level talks—the highest bilateral talks between the countries since Iran’s 1979 revolution—between Secretary of State John Kerry and top Iranian officials.

Obama reaffirmed America’s commitment to the “existence of a Jewish state” and defending Israel “against terror attacks,” but also said the “occupation of the West Bank is tearing at the democratic fabric” of the country. He said the “time is now ripe” for both sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to get behind the cause of peace.

On Syria, Obama urged the U.N. to approve a resolution on disarming Syria’s chemical weapons program, and said the U.S. will provide an additional $340 million in humanitarian aid. The U.S. has already provided more than $1 billion in aid to Syrians.


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