With the powerful P5+1 group set to meet with Iran next Wednesday to discuss the latter’s nuclear program, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday he remains skeptical the diplomatic effort will prevent Iran from achieving nuclear weapons. The six-member world body—the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and Germany—met with Iran last month after a lengthy hiatus in negotiations over Tehran’s controversial nuclear program.
The April discussions were portrayed positively by both sides, with the next round set to take place in Baghdad, Iraq. However, Netanyahu expressed concern that Iran may use the cover of diplomacy to continue a program suspected of working towards nuclear weapons.
In comments released by his office, Netanyahu said, “Obviously, nothing would be better than to see this issue resolved diplomatically. But I have seen no evidence that Iran is serious about stopping its nuclear weapons program.”
Comparing Iran with North Korea, which despite long-term negotiations and supposed breakthroughs still has conducted nuclear weapons testing, Netanyahu expressed concern Iran could feign compliance to sidestep real compromise.
“They may try to go from meeting to meeting with empty promises. They may agree to something in principle but not implement it. They might even agree to implement something that does not materially derail their nuclear weapons program,” said Netanyahu, who has long warned of the negative implications of nuclear weapons in the hands of terror-sponsoring Iran.
“Iran is good at playing this chess game. They know that sometimes you have to sacrifice a pawn to save the king.”
The Israeli leader said the goal for the talks with Iran should be “clear”: freezing all uranium nuclear fuel enrichment inside Iran; removing all enriched material outside of Iran; and dismantling the underground Qom nuclear facility.
Said Netanyahu, “When this goal is achieved, I will be the first to applaud. Until then, count me among the skeptics.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, May 18, 2012)