'Iran deal is a diversion tactic'

PM praises US sanctions effort, calls on PA to accept Jewish state.

May 25, 2010 20:05
3 minute read.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (AP).

netanyahu flag 311. (photo credit: AP)

The uranium enrichment deal brokered by Turkey and Brazil is “a transparent Iranian ruse meant to divert the international public's attention from sanctions,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said during a special Knesset session on Tuesday evening.

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Addressing the assembled MKs, Netanyahu said the deal, which drew mixed responses from the permanent UN Security Council members and in particular the US, still left enough uranium in Iran's possession to produce a nuclear weapon. He stressed that the agreement did not prevent Iran from continuing to enrich the fissile material to a high degree.

“This proposal also guarantees Iran the right to take back at any point the kilograms [of uranium] transferred to Turkey,” Netanyahu said, praising Washington for deciding to go forward in its pursuit of Security Council countermeasures.

“This is an important move, symbolically speaking, but I think we all know these sanctions will not stop Iran,” he continued. “More effective sanctions are being prepared now by the US Congress. They will affect, among other things, the energy sector, imports, exports and other areas. The US will be able to pass these sanctions outside the Security Council or in conjunction with it,” he explain. Teheran, he stressed, must “understand that the international community is determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear arms.”

'Palestinians must understand that the conflict is finite'

Netanyahu went on to discuss peace talks with the Palestinians, which have been slow to advance in recent months. “No preconditions,” he reiterated, stressing that his government would negotiate both with the Palestinians and the Syrians without prior demands. “We will enter talks even if every side has complaints against the other side,” he said. “However, this is not a pretext for refusing to enter talks. On the contrary, it's a reason to talk, to solve the problems.”

The prime minister stated that Israel and the US were in agreement over the principal of proximity talks as a “short corridor” on the way to direct negotiations. “The well-known issues between us and the Palestinians cannot be resolved in proximity talks,” he said. “It's inconceivable that we could think to live in peace together and yet be incapable of entering a room and talking to each other – especially seeing as we are ten minutes away from each other, from Jerusalem to Ramallah.”

Netanyahu then began to enumerate the principles which would ensure a peace agreement with the Palestinians. “The first point is Palestinian recognition of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people. That is not to be taken for granted – it is not something that has been agreed upon,” he said.

“When we speak of two states for two peoples, one of these is the Jewish people, and I say this because … the Palestinians must be ready to put an end to the delegitimization of the Jewish state in any borders. They know that the problem of refugees will be solved outside the borders of Israel. They must not have any designs on the Negev, the Galilee or any other part of Israel – and they must recognize that there is an end to the conflict.”

Netanyahu warned of a situation in which the creation of a Palestinian state would not bring about peace. “I'm not talking about Hamas, I'm not talking about Hizbullah, I'm talking about the Palestinian Authority, which must recognize that the conflict is finite.” This, he said, would be manifested in true Palestinian acceptance of Israel. “They must recognize us, just as we are obligated to recognize the Palestinian nation-state,” he said. “[International] recognition and legitimation do not depend on Palestinian recognition, but peace does. It is important in the long run in order to uphold a lasting peace agreement.”

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