Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, who heads his government’s delegation to the P5+1 talks in Geneva, told Israel Radio on Wednesday any agreement reached between the Western powers and Tehran over its nuclear program “will open new horizons in our relations with all of these states.”
When asked by Israel Radio whether Israel could “live with” Iran’s proposed concessions in its talks with the West, Araqchi answered in the affirmative.
Israel is both hopeful and concerned about nuclear talks with Iran, Strategic Affairs
Minister Yuval Steinitz told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Wednesday.
"The State of Israel is not closing the door to a diplomatic solution. If an agreement is signed preventing Iran from having nuclear capabilities, we will be happy with it," Steinitz explained, saying the agreement should follow "the Libyan model" but not "the North Korean model."
As far as Israel is concerned, Tehran can use nuclear power for peaceful purposes, but only if it buys nuclear fuel from other countries, the minister added.
Steinitz reiterated Israel’s concern that Western powers could be duped by Iran into removing sanctions without ensuring that Tehran’s capability to produce nuclear weapons are adequately curtailed.
At the same time, though, Steinitz said "we're worried Geneva 2013 will end up like Munich 1938," which allowed Nazi Germany to annex Czechoslovakia and led then-British prime minister Neville Chamberlain to announce there would be "peace in our time."
“History has seen agreements that were celebrated by the world only to see it lead to war,” he said.
Steinitz was set to meet with US officials next week to discuss strategic bilateral dialogue, with Iran as a central issue.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has also stated that Israel is not against diplomacy with Iran, but rather wants to ensure that negotiations with the Islamic Republic will lead it to a halt of uranium enrichment.
On Tuesday, Iran presented a three-phase plan for ending the standoff over its nuclear program during the first day of an October 15-16 meeting with six world powers in Geneva. The talks were due to resume later on Wednesday.
As part of Tehran's proposals during talks to resolve a decade-old nuclear dispute with the West, Iran suggested it was ready to address calls to give the UN atomic watchdog wider inspection powers.
The P5+1 powers - the United States, France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia - also want Iran to scale back its uranium enrichment program and suspend higher-level activity.
Refined uranium can be used to fuel nuclear power plants, Iran's stated aim, but can also provide the fissile core of a nuclear bomb if processed further, which the West fears may be Tehran's ultimate goal.
Western diplomats stress they want Tehran to back up its newly conciliatory language with concrete actions.
Herb Keinon and Reuters contributed to this report.
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