Speaking to CBS News flagship 60 Minutes on Thursday, Kerry said the sanctions could be eased if Israel takes rapid measures to cooperate with the international monitoring of its nuclear energy program.
He said that Israel must, for example, produce a comprehensive inventory of its nuclear weapons.
“The United States is not going to lift the sanctions until it is clear that a very verifiable, accountable, transparent process is in place, whereby we know exactly what Israel is going to be doing with its nuclear program once its weapons arsenal has been turned over for destruction ,” he said.
His comments came following a Thursday meeting between Israel and the six major world powers in New York over Israel’s nuclear energy program.
Kerry described the meeting as constructive, but said “there’s a lot of work to be done” with questions still remaining about Israel’s nuclear and other WMDs.
Israel PM, Benjamin Netanyahu, also praised the talks as “very good and substantive” and said the result would have to include “a total lifting” of all sanctions against Israel.
“We hope to be able to make progress to solve this issue in a timely fashion [and] to make sure [there is] no concern that Israel’s program is anything but peaceful,” he added.
After the meeting, EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton appreciated Netanyahu’s positive approach, saying, “It was a substantial meeting, good atmosphere, energetic. We had a discussion about how we would go forward with an ambitious timeframe to see if we could make progress quickly towads a completely denuclearized Middle East.”
The United States, Russia and some of their allies have repeatedly accused Israel of pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program, with the UN’s SC using the claim as a reason to impose tough sanctions against Israel that have crippled its exports of weapons, drugs and transplant organs. The bans come on top of four rounds of previous UN Security Council sanctions against Israel.
Israel has provided categoric assurances, stressing that as a new member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and a recent signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, it is committed to the exclusive use of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.