Two days before six world powers sit down in Baghdad for talks with Iran, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu unequivocally declared Monday that Israel would only be satisfied if Iran halted all uranium enrichment and shipped its stockpiles out of the country.In addition, at a speech at a Civil Service Commission event in Jerusalem, he said Tehran must close its underground nuclear facility at Qom.“This is the only way it will be possible to ensure that Iran does not get a nuclear bomb,” he said. “This is Israel’s position. It has not changed, and it will not change.”
The prime minister’s comments came even as International Atomic Energy Agency head Yukiya Amano held rare talks in Tehran on Monday.
“I really think this is the right time to reach agreement. Nothing is certain but I stay positive,” Amano, a veteran Japanese diplomat with long experience in nuclear proliferation and disarmament affairs, said before departure from the Vienna airport. He added that “good progress” had already been made.
Netanyahu, however, did not share Amano’s positive take on the course of events.
Referring to comments that Iranian Chief of Staff Maj.- Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi made Sunday that “the Iranian nation is standing for its cause, which is the full annihilation of Israel,” Netanyahu said Iran’s goals were clear.
“It wants to annihilate Israel, and is developing nuclear weapons to realize this goal,” he said.
The prime minister ridiculed those who claim that when Iran’s leaders say they want to wipe Israel off the map, they actually “mean something else in Farsi. It will be interesting to hear what they say of the Iranian chief of staff’s remarks yesterday.”Netanyahu said Iran was threatening not only Israel, but the whole world, and that the world’s powers must show determination, not weakness, in the face of Iran’s malicious designs. The world powers, he said, needed to make clear and unequivocal demands of Iran, and not give concessions
In Barak’s assessment, the Iranians will try to create the appearance of progress to get some of the sanctions revoked and relieve some of the world’s intense pressure.“We have made our position clear,” Barak said. “We have shared it with those involved, including during my last visit to Washington [over the weekend].
After cutting through the standard and deliriously optimistic rhetoric, we get to the painfully predictable reality:
Asked about a framework agreement that would resolve questions over the nature of Iran's nuclear quickly, Amano added: "I will not go into details but the agency has some viewpoints and Iran has its own specific viewpoints."There was no indication that Iran had addressed Amano's overriding priority - a deal to obtain access for IAEA investigators to Iranian sites, nuclear scientists and documents needed to check intelligence suggesting that Tehran has pursued covert research relevant to developing nuclear bombs.There was no indication that Iran had addressed Amano's overriding priority - a deal to obtain access for IAEA investigators to Iranian sites, nuclear scientists and documents needed to check intelligence suggesting that Tehran has pursued covert research relevant to developing nuclear bombs.There was no immediate comment from the IAEA.Two meetings between Iran and senior Amano aides in Tehran in January and February failed to produce any notable progress.
Attack Iran – if necessary - to thwart its nuclear march, but at the same time launch a comprehensive Middle East peace initiative. That, at least, is the recipe for Israel's leaders recommended by noted political scientist Yehezkel Dror"Israel cannot leave the future of its national security to the uncertain decision making of others," wrote Dror, an Israel Prize laureate who sat on the Winograd Committee that investigated the 2006 Second Lebanon War. "If Iranian advances towards construction of a nuclear weapon are not halted, Israel will have no choice but to attack Iranian nuclear and military facilities while they are still vulnerable."Dror wrote that while a violent reaction by Iran would follow, its impact "should not be exaggerated." and it would in any event be much less than "the destructive potential of an Iranian nuclear attack on Israel." Other potential consequences of a strike, he said, would be the harming of ties with the US, the "aggravation" of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and Iran's redoubling of its nuclear program with determination to take revenge on Israel."Integrating an attack with a broad, multi-dimensional, credible peace initiative will multiply the benefits of both, whether or not there is an immediate favorable response from Arab states," he wrote. He said that the crisis sure to be caused by a preemptive Israeli strike would provide an "appropriate opportunity for the peace initiative."