JERUSALEM — With talks between Iran and six world powers under way in Geneva, Israeli leaders issued a stern warning to the so-called P5 Plus One diplomatic group: Don’t ease pressure on Iran.
It would be a “historic mistake” to relax pressure on Iran “a moment before sanctions achieve their goal,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Israel’s parliament Monday.
In a statement issued ahead of the talks this morning, Israel’s security cabinet stressed that the current opportunity for reaching a genuine diplomatic solution to dismantle Iran’s military nuclear program could bear fruit only if the international community “does not relent” and continues pressure on Iran.
“We want the Geneva talks to succeed. We are not closing the door on diplomacy,” Minister of Strategic and Intelligence Affairs Yuval Steinitz said Monday. Israel will endorse a “satisfactory agreement,” he said.
Steinitz defined “satisfactory” as different from agreements previously reached with, and breached by, North Korea, which now has several nuclear weapons. He said North Korea is a cautionary example of the “impact and ramifications of bad agreements.”
The minister pointed to an agreement with Libya, which gave up its enrichment program and effectively shut down its nuclear program a decade ago, as a good example.
If Iran wants civilian nuclear energy as it claims, it must stop enriching uranium and give up material enriched so far, Steinitz said, saying enriched uranium.
The ministers said Iran could create a “win-win situation” if it gives up enrichment and obtains nuclear fuel from a third country.
Netanyahu contended that despite Iran’s declared commitment to pursuing only civilian nuclear energy, it has been working for two decades to obtain nuclear weapons capabilities, systematically defying United Nations resolutions. While negotiating with the West, Iran has amassed several tons of enriched uranium in recent years, Netanyahu said.
Israel will embrace a “genuine diplomatic solution which would bring about the dismantling of Iran’s nuclear weapons program,” said Netanyahu. This will be possible, the prime minister said, if Iran complies with previous Security Council resolutions and other steps, including stopping all nuclear enrichment, removing stockpiled enriched uranium, dismantling two facilities and halting the plutonium track.