Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu took his message that no deal is better than a bad one to major media outlets in each of the P5+1 countries negotiating with Iran on Sunday, four days before Iran and the world powers begin another round of nuclear talks.
Netanyahu’s media blitz coincides with intensive lobbying efforts under way in Washington, London, Paris, Berlin, Moscow and Beijing against signing a nuclear deal with Iran that would leave in place the Islamic Republic’s nuclear capabilities, but install a robust verification regime.
“A good deal is what was done in Syria,” Netanyahu told CNN, “in the case of Syria, the United States led an effort to dismantle and remove Syria’s chemical stockpiles and its means to make chemical weapons. What Iran is pushing for is an entirely different deal, that is to keep and inspect – keep its nuclear stockpiles and the means to make nuclear weapons and rely on inspectors to prevent it from using them.”
The problem, Netanyahu pointed out, was that “inspectors can be deceived” or sidelined, as Iran has done before.
“That’s what breakout means,” he said. “They break out, rush and make the stuff for a nuclear bomb in a very short time – weeks, months. That’s exactly what North Korea did.”
Asked about concern that the US may go softer on the Iranian program now in an effort to get Tehran “on board” in dealing with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Netanyahu said that to do so would be “grievous strategic error.”
He warned against crossing the “historical threshold of giving the ayatollahs atomic bombs” for “tactical gains in Iraq.”
Netanyahu said that Iran was looking for a “deal of surrender” from the P5+1, which includes the US, Russia, China, France, Germany and Britain.
The Iranians, he said, were keen on a situation where the P5+1 would allow them to “keep their capability and park as a threshold nuclear state” just a few weeks or months from a nuclear bomb, and then allow inspectors to verify.
Rather than rely on verification, Netanyahu said, what needed to be done was dismantle or “remove what’s not destroyed.”
In addition to interviewing with CNN, Netanyahu also gave interviews Sunday to Sky News in Britain, ARD Radio in Germany, France 24, Channel 1 Russia, and CCTV in China.
Netanyahu has also sent National Security Advisor Yossi Cohen and Intelligence Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz to Washington for meetings on the Iranian issue on Monday.
Steinitz is also scheduled to carry on to London and Paris for meetings.
In addition, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman is to hold meetings in Berlin on Monday, following his meetings last Thursday with US Secretary of State John Kerry and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, where the Iranian issue was central among the issues discussed.