As deadline looms for Iran nuclear talks, Israel presents world powers with firm stance, while Iran believes a deal is still possible.
VIENNA — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday hinted that he supports the extension of talks between six world powers and Iran over its nuclear program.
“We are closely following the talks in Vienna,” Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem. Israel is “concerned” about developments at the talks, Netanyahu said, adding that Jerusalem was in contact with the U.S. as well as additional members of the P5+1.
“We are presenting them with a firm stance that Iran should not be allowed to become a nuclear threshold state,” Netanyahu said. “There is no reason it should be allowed to retain thousands of centrifuges that would allow it to enrich uranium for a nuclear bomb in a short amount of time. There is also no reason for Iran to continue developing intercontinental missiles that can carry nuclear warheads and threaten the entire world. Therefore, it is preferable that there be no deal than a bad deal that would threaten Israel, the Middle East and all of humanity.”
Talks between the negotiators for Iran and world powers continue Sunday morning. Following morning conversations between the lead negotiators for Iran, the U.S. and the European Union, another trilateral meeting got underway at 10:30 A.M. Vienna time between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU representative Catherine Ashton.
The three are trying to determine whether a comprehensive framework agreement – which would outline the principles of a final-status agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program whose technical details would be worked out later – can be reached by Monday evening, the deadline for the talks. Otherwise, the talks would have to be extended by several months in an effort to reach a comprehensive deal.
If there is no breakthrough on Sunday, Iran and the world powers would discuss the possibility of extending negotiations and extending the interim agreement on Iran’s nuclear program, sources from the Iranian negotiating team told the ISNA news agency.
Iranian negotiators believe it is still possible to reach a framework agreement that would include general principles for solving the issue of uranium enrichment, the number of centrifuges that Iran will be allowed to maintain, a date for lifting the sanctions, the nature of supervision over Iran’s nuclear facilities and the future of the heavy water reactor at Arak and the underground enrichment plant at Fordo.
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