But another reason, he continued, is that Ashton has earned "a status as a genuine, open-minded but tough-thinking negotiator who the Iranians trust and are willing to deal with," and one "who can keep the sometimes fractious P5+1 together." At the pre-talks dinner, Ashton "rebuilt a rapport with Jalili," he continued. "During the talks, she ran the show — choreographing the political directors, ensuring their intervention matched her script. As the day progressed, she 'deployed' the Russians and even the Turks to engage with the Iranians and persuade them to engage constructively."
"Finally, in one-to-one negotiations, she headed off unrealistic Iranian demands and got everyone to agree … that a next meeting had to be held; and crucially … that it had to take place quickly so as not to drag this process out more than it needs to," he said. Indeed, the next Iran nuclear talks, scheduled to take place May 23 in Baghdad, is a couple weeks later than the Americans had hoped, diplomats told me. Washington had been hoping for a May 10 meeting date. But Ashton's schedule could not accommodate one before May 23.
Catherine Ashton is no friend of Israel or the Jewish people. And I'm not talking about the kerfuffle over her comments equating the massacre in Toulouse with Gaza. Take a look at the contents of this speech she gave in 2010.
Our aim is a viable State of Palestine in the West Bank including East Jerusalem and the Gaza strip, on the basis of the 1967 lines. If there is to be a genuine peace a way must be found to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of Israel and Palestine. And we need a just solution of the refugee issue. The possibility now before us of proximity talks could be the beginning of a new opportunity to find a solution. But we have to be clear: talks not for the sake of talks. We want results and genuine commitment, not a restating of well-known positions. We need a process that leads to outcomes. Recent Israeli decisions to build new housing units in East Jerusalem have endangered and undermined the tentative agreement to begin proximity talks.
The EU position on settlements is clear. Settlements are illegal, constitute an obstacle to peace and threaten to make a two-state solution impossible. A solution that the Israeli Prime Minister says he supports. He is
right, and these talks are urgent. Urgent because I fear for the future. Urgent, because Israel has a popular Prime Minister who owes it to his people to move to the solution he supports. Urgent, because the Palestinians, despite everything, and with your and our support, are willing to engage.
But there are many obstacles. The decision to list cultural and religious sites based in the occupied Palestinian territory as Israeli is counter-productive. The blockade of Gaza is unacceptable. It has created enormous human suffering and greatly harms the potential to move forward.
In other words, she has accepted the Palestinian position as her own and demands that Israel not only give up 100% of the West Bank, Gaza and potentially Jerusalem but also endanger pre-1967 Israel by allowing Palestinian refugees in. She thinks that Israel shouldn't build apartments (that are open to both Jews and Arabs) in "disputed" territories. She doesn't even think that Israel has a right to designate ancient Jewish religious sites as religious sites if they are in the wrong area. For example, the Cave of Machpelah, where Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are buried, is the 2nd holiest shrine in Judaism is in Hebron. Someohow, Ashton doesn't believe we have a right to claim it as our own.
And this is the person who is supposed to safeguard Israel by getting Iran to disarm? No wonder the Iranians trust her!