US State Dept briefing, comment on Cuba, Iran and Israel



SHOTLIST
1. Wide of US State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack walking to podium
2. Mid of reporter
3. SOUNDBITE: (English) Sean McCormack, US State Department Spokesman:
“(You) would have to go and talk to the government of Israel about any of their military exercises and what they intended to accomplish by those military exercises. We, ourselves, as you know and as we have conveyed to Israel as well as others in public and private, are focused on trying to make the diplomacy work. We believe that we can resolve the proximate issue at hand, which is the nuclear question, and which the Israeli government, I believe, sees as an existential threat, that we can resolve these issues through diplomacy, we still hold out that hope.”
4. Mid of reporter asking question
5. SOUNDBITE: (English) Sean McCormack, US State Department Spokesman:
“Pointing out to you just recently the actions of the EU, where they announced their intention to enforce new sanctions on Iran, as evidence that there is a great deal of concern and activity in the international system to get diplomacy to work, and that is where our focus is.”
6. Mid of reporter asking question
7. SOUNDBITE: (English) Sean McCormack, US State Department Spokesman:
“There are different pathways to get to the same objective; we have strongly urged them to adhere more closely to a policy that they had in the past. That said, they’ve taken this decision and it was after intense consultation within the EU, so what I would ask is for you to consider that there is going to be more to the story in terms of what the EU describes vis-a-vis its benchmarks and what it will require of the Cuban government, and that’s positive.”
8. Mid of reporters
STORYLINE:
US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said on Friday that the United States was “focused on making the diplomacy work” in relation to the Iranian nuclear issue.
During a news briefing in Washington, DC, McCormack was asked about reports of a large Israeli military exercise this month that might have been aimed at showing Israel’s ability to attack Iranian nuclear facilities.
In a substantial show of force, Israel sent warplanes and other aircraft on a major exercise in the Eastern Mediterranean early this month, Pentagon officials said on Friday.
The New York Times quoted officials on Friday as saying that more than 100 Israeli F-16s and F-15s staged the manoeuvre, flying more than 900 miles (about 1,450 kilometres), roughly the distance from Israel to Iran’s Natanz nuclear enrichment facility, and that the exercise included refuelling tankers and helicopters.
Israel’s military refused to confirm or deny that the manoeuvres were practice for a strike in Iran.
McCormack would not comment on whether the United States supported or opposed any future Israeli air strikes against Iran.
McCormack said journalists “would have to go and talk to the government of Israel about any of their military exercises and what they intended to accomplish by those military exercises. We ourselves, as you know and as we have conveyed to Israel as well as others in public and private, are focused on trying to make the diplomacy work.”
“We believe that we can resolve the proximate issue at hand, which is the nuclear question, and which the Israeli government, I believe, sees as an existential threat, that we can resolve these issues through diplomacy, we still hold out that hope,” he added.
McCormack pointed to a recent decision by the European Union “where they announced their intention to enforce new sanctions on Iran, as evidence that there is a great deal of concern and activity in the international system to get diplomacy to work, and that is where our focus is.”
But more than 200 dissidents are still serving jail terms.

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