Israeli PM urges world powers to pressure Iran over nuclear program

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

JERUSALEM, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continued to stage a hardline approach towards Iran on Friday, saying world powers should not court Iran in order to reach a deal to curb its nuclear plan.

Netanyahu’s statement, issued by the Prime Minister’s office, comes a day after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released a report stating Iran’s reluctance to cooperate with the organization.

“The IAEA report again notes that Iran is refusing to reveal to the world its preparations for the production of nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu said, according to the statement.

“Iran insists on hiding this from the international community at a time when the major powers are continuing to try and allow Iran to produce the core of such weapons, enriched uranium,” the Prime Minister said.

“These do not go togers don’t need to court Iran for it to agree to accept the possibility of producing nuclear weapons even as the latter refuses to divulge the details of the preparation for its nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu added.

In the IAEA report, the agency criticized Teheran’s lack of transparency regarding its nuclear facilities and its capabilities of developing nuclear weapons.

“The agency remains concerned about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed nuclear-related activities involving military-related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile,” Thursday’s report stated.

The P5+1 countries (U.S., Britain, China, France, Russia plus Germany) have been negotiating for the past 18 months with Iran in order to reach a deal over its nuclear program and lift debilitating economic sanctions the international community imposed on the country.

The P5+1 countries want Iran to limit its uranium enrichment capacity (whereas Netanyahu demands that Iran forgoes its uranium enrichment capabilities altogether) and open its nuclear facilities for the IAEA’s inspection.

After reaching an interim agreement in November 2013, the two sides are trying to reach a final deal by the end of March, settling the final details for it in the following months. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif were set to meet in Gesume the negotiations’ efforts.

Israel’s Netanyahu had reiterated that a nuclear Iran would be an “existential threat” to the state of Israel, whereas Iran claims its nuclear capabilities are aimed at peaceful purposes of generating electricity.

Netanyahu’s hardline support had put him at odds with U.S. President Barack Obama. Netanyahu is planned to speak at the U.S. congress on March 3 about Iran, by the invitation of U.S. House Majority Leader John Boehner from the Republican party.

Obama’s administration were angered by the speech, which is in contrast to the U.S.’ official stance, charging more sanctions should be imposed on Iran. It was also criticized by U.S. officials and Israeli center-left politicians as political propaganda, two weeks ahead of the March 17 elections.

On Wednesday, White House Spokesperson Josh Earnest said that Israel was selectively leaking information from the nuclear talks with Iran in order to advance its position in the international community.

“There’s no question that some of the things that the Israelis have said in characterizing our negotiating position have not been accurate,” Earnest said in a statement.

By Xinhua