Netanyahu presses world powers to take hard line in Iran nuke deal

Netanyahu presses world powers to take hard line in Iran nuke deal

PanARMENIAN.Net - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday, December 8 pressed world powers to take a hard line with Iran in negotiations for a final nuclear deal, urging them to demand that Tehran abandon all uranium enrichment, halt its ballistic missile program and end a "genocidal" anti-Israel policy, according to Reuters.

One day after President Barack Obama deemed it unrealistic to believe Iran could be compelled to dismantle its entire nuclear infrastructure, Netanyahu said Tehran should have to take apart all centrifuges used to refine uranium, despite its insistence it would never agree to do so.

Netanyahu, deeply skeptical over an interim six-month deal reached with Iran in Geneva in late November, also suggested that the imposition of new sanctions could help the West secure a "better deal" in the next round of negotiations. Obama has urged Congress against further punitive measures for now.

While delivering a pointed rebuttal to some of Obama's arguments on Iran, Netanyahu took pains to avoid any new diplomatic clash with the U.S. president. He instead played down their differences and lauded the recently strained U.S.-Israeli bond as the "indispensable alliance."

But with the hawkish Israeli prime minister urging the international community to "beware" of Iran's intentions, he made clear that Israel and the United States are hardly on the same page.

While the United States wants talks limited to Iran's nuclear program, Netanyahu urged a broader approach, calling on world powers to demand suspension of Iranian missile development - which Israel sees as a security threat - and an end to Tehran's weapons supplies to anti-Israel militants.

Addressing the same forum on Saturday, Obama defended diplomacy with Iran but sought to reassure Israelis with a pledge to step up sanctions or prepare for a potential military strike if Tehran fails to abide by the pact.

He argued, however, it was unreasonable to envision a deal in which "we'll destroy every element and facility" and argued instead that world powers could accept a "modest" Iranian civil nuclear program subject to intensive international monitoring.

But Netanyahu made clear that Israel considers any Iranian enrichment capacity to have military potential - despite Tehran's denial that it seeks a nuclear bomb.

In his speech, Netanyahu spoke only briefly of the need to "take apart all the centrifuges" that Iran operates. But later, in a joint appearance with the visiting Dutch prime minister near Tel Aviv, he stressed the point.

"I called today for the dismantling of all centrifuges," he told reporters. "All centrifuges means that there's no enrichment ... and therefore we think that that should be part and parcel of a deal."

Netanyahu stopped short of repeating his denunciation of the Geneva deal as a "historic mistake," widely interpreted as a swipe at Obama, with whom he has had testy relations.

Instead, Netanyahu appears to have set his sights on trying to ensure that world powers squeeze maximum concessions from Iran as they try to craft a comprehensive settlement.

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