Netanyahu Reiterates Call to Stop Iranian Nuclear Fuel Work

With a rumored concession on allowing Iran some low-level uranium enrichment in the background, Netanyahu again publicly called for the world powers to make clear demands on Iran in Wednesday’s high-stakes meeting. The P5+1—the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and Germany—will follow up with additional nuclear talks with Iran in Baghdad, Iraq. The sides met last month and sounded generally positive, although no significant breakthroughs were announced.

Netanyahu, in public comments quoted by his office, said on Monday, “Iran threatens Israel, peace and the entire world. Against this malicious intention, the world’s leading countries must show determination, not weakness. They do not need to make concessions to Iran. They need to set clear and unequivocal demands before it.”

The Israeli leader then reiterated his call on the P5+1 to make Iran stop all uranium enrichment, remove all nuclear material from its territory and dismantle the underground Fordo nuclear facility.

“Only thus will it be possible to ensure that Iran will not have a nuclear bomb. This is Israel’s position; it has not changed and it will not change,” said Netanyahu.

His comments follow a report in Haaretz saying Israel was willing to allow some concessions on Iran. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak reportedly told the US that they would be willing to allow Iran to keep enriching uranium to the low 3.5 percent level as a means to give diplomacy with Iran a chance.

The Iranians are currently enriching up to 20 percent, which while short of military grade nuclear fuel, is still far down the path towards that level.

However, an Israeli official in the Haaretz article warned against jumping at a bad deal with Iran. Another report from Haaretz on Monday said the Israelis are concerned the West will make an unacceptable compromise with Iran that will further complicate the situation.

On Monday, Netanyahu expressed why the Israelis see the Iranian threat as existential.  “I have heard those who have cast doubt on Iran’s intentions. They said that when Iran’s leaders declare that they will wipe Israel off the map, they really mean something else in Persian. It would be interesting to hear what they think of the Iranian Chief-of-Staff’s remarks yesterday: ‘Iran is committed to the complete destruction of Israel,’” said Netanyahu.

“This is clear and simple. Iran’s goals are clear. It wants to annihilate Israel and is developing nuclear weapons to realize this goal.”

(By Staff,, May 21, 2012)