Tags: Iran | Israel | Middle East | Bill Richardson | Hamas

Richardson: Iran Could Show 'Good Will' By Joining in Gaza Talks

Wednesday, 30 Jul 2014 03:53 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

It could be in Iran's best interest to become involved in the ongoing peace talks between Hamas and Israel, former ambassador and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson says, but he doesn't trust Iran anyway.

Richardson, appearing on CNN Wednesday, told correspondent Carol Costello that he thinks eventually, if Iran "wants to show good will," it will become involved in the talks.

"When it comes to Syria, Hezbollah, when it comes to Iraq, you really can't trust them [Iraq]," Richardson said. But "if they want to show good will, if they want American support, if they want congressional support for a nuclear deal they might step in and say to Hamas 'look, you gotta start talking, you gotta start dealing with Israel, you gotta find ways to lessen the tension there.'"

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To get Iran to step in, said Richardson, he thinks the matter should be brought up during ongoing nuclear talks with Iran in Vienna, and by reminding Iran's officials if they want their country to be a "responsible member of the international community" they'll work to help stop the bloodshed in Gaza.

Meanwhile, he acknowledged that more than 90 percent of the Israeli population wants the Gaza military to continue with its mission, and supports Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's objective, which Richardson describes as being to "seriously degrade the military capability of Hamas," while not wiping out the organization.

He said he does have a glimmer of hope when he sees that Egypt and Israel are working together on peace talks, with Egypt now agreeing to include Hamas and the Palestinians in the future.

"This is probably going to go on longer," said Richardson, but he expects the conflict to slow down in the next few days.

He noted that it will remain part of Israel's military strategy to go after Hamas' tunnels, rocket launchers and command center to degrade the militant organization's capabilities substantially.

"The strategy by Israel is to find ways to make sure Hamas is seriously debilitated so this can't happen again," said Richardson.

Meanwhile, the United States is playing the "proper role" in the situation "by backing the Egyptians" and "standing behind our ally, Israel."

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