Israel said on Thursday a U.S. television interview in which Iranian President Hassan Rouhani pledged that Tehran would never develop nuclear weapons was an Iranian attempt to deceive the world.
"One must not be fooled by the Iranian president's fraudulent words," said a statement issued by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office.
"The Iranians are spinning in the media so that the centrifuges can keep on spinning," it said, referring to Iranian uranium enrichment that Israel believes is aimed at developing nuclear weapons.
The Israeli statement said Iran was out to achieve a deal in which it would agree to give up an "inconsequential" part of its nuclear program while moving ahead with other activities that would enable it to build a bomb quickly from the moment it decides to do so.
The statement repeated Israel's demands of Iran: a complete halt to uranium enrichment, removal of enriched uranium from the country, dismantlement of the underground enrichment facility at Qom and an end to any efforts to use plutonium to produce a nuclear bomb.
Iran is on course to develop a nuclear bomb within six months and time has run out for further negotiations, a senior Israeli minister said.
Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said Iran still believed it had room for maneuver in dealing with world powers, and that unless it faced a credible threat of U.S. military action, it would not stop its nuclear activities.
"There is no more time to hold negotiations," Steinitz, who is close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said in an interview with the Israel Hayom daily published on Friday.
The United States and its allies suspect Iran is working towards a nuclear weapons capability despite Tehran's insistence that its atomic program has only peaceful aims.
During four years of international negotiations over its disputed nuclear program, during which U.N.-sponsored sanctions have hit Iran's economy hard, Steinitz said the Islamic Republic had only improved its capabilities.
"If the Iranians continue to run, in another half a year they will have bomb capability," he said.
Israel has dismissed overtures to the West by new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, and his pledge in an interview on U.S. television that Iran would never develop nuclear weapons.
"One must not be fooled by the Iranian president's fraudulent words," Netanyahu's office said in a statement on Thursday. "The Iranians are spinning in the media so that the centrifuges can keep on spinning."
Meanwhile, as 'the nations' allow Iran to proceed with their nuclear development, unabated, the request for Israel to disarm grows louder. How bizarre and upside down:
Arab states will push ahead with a bid to single out Israel for criticism over its assumed atomic arsenal at this week's UN nuclear agency meeting, despite Western pressure to refrain, a senior representative said on Friday.
Frustrated over the indefinite postponement last year of an international conference on banning atomic arms in the region, Arab states have proposed a non-binding resolution expressing concern about "Israeli nuclear capabilities".
If adopted at the annual member state gathering of the UN International Atomic Energy Agency, it would call on Israel to join a global anti-nuclear weapons treaty and place its nuclear facilities under IAEA monitoring. Diplomats expect a close vote.
The Arab League will press forward with an initiative that would see Israel singled out for criticism over its alleged nuclear arsenal at a meeting of the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog this week.
The bid, which the US tried to stymie this week, reflects mounting frustration in the Arab world over the deferment of an international conference on the banning of atomic arms in the region, Reuters reported Friday.
If the resolution is passed by the International Atomic Energy Agency, Israel will be called upon to sign on to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and submit to IAEA scrutiny of its nuclear facilities.
The Arab initiative is part of mounting international pressure on Israel to relinquish — or at least admit to possessing — weapons of mass destruction. The heightened interest in the Jewish state’s alleged nuclear, chemical and biological weapons comes amid indications from Iran that it’s ready to show flexibility in nuclear talks, and in the wake of a Russian-brokered deal that would see Syrian President Bashar Assad’s chemical weapons shipped off and eventually destroyed.
On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Assad’s decision to amass chemical weapons was “in response to Israel’s nuclear capabilities” and that “Israel has technological superiority and doesn’t need nuclear weapons.”
Hamas has seen better days, particularly in the Gaza Strip. The Islamist organization has been marked by the Egyptian army and the new regime in Cairo as the enemy, no less. And yet it could be Israel that pays the price.
It is often difficult to comprehend the extent to which relations between Egypt and Hamas have deteriorated. Leaders of the Palestinian organization are forbidden to travel from the Gaza Strip into Egypt, for example. This is one step that even former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak avoided taking, but for several weeks, this has become the new reality.
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