The world powers are so keen on an agreement with Iran that they lowered their
demands to the point that Tehran could agree to the demands and still build a
bomb, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said in an interview with Germany’s Bild
In a transcript of the interview published in the tabloid
Tuesday and Wednesday, the prime minister said the demands that the P5+1 – the
US, China, Russia, France, Britain and Germany – placed on Iran during the
recent negotiations were woefully inadequate.
“You apply this whole set
of pressures – for what? For practically nothing,” he said of the sanctions
imposed on the Islamic Republic, in some of his harshest comments to date about
the current round of negotiations between Iran and the P5+1.
stop the 20-percent [uranium] enrichment at any moment now and not in any way
retard their advance in the nuclear program,” he said. “The P5+1 is so
keen on getting any agreement that they have lowered the demands.”
reiterated his stand on what the demands should be: halting all uranium
enrichment, removing all enriched material from the country and dismantling the
underground facility at Qom.
Netanyahu bewailed that despite all the
international pressure, “the Iranian nuclear program has not slowed down by one
He explained how a nuclear bomb works, saying it is filled
with explosive material – “called fissile material” – prepared from uranium
enriched at a low percentage.
“Iran has that already,” he said, pointing
out that the process of filling the bomb becomes much faster when the uranium is
enriched to a higher percentage.
“What they are being asked now to do is
not stop filling the canister, not to stop enrichment, not to take away the
material,” he continued. “The Iranians were only asked to stop 20% enrichment of
uranium. That doesn’t stop their nuclear program in any
According to Netanyahu, if Iran genuinely wanted nuclear power for
peaceful purposes, it would agree to halt 20% enrichment.
they don’t agree is that they are pursuing atomic bombs,” he said.
stressed that the problem in Iran was not President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but
“his boss, Ayatollah [Ali] Khamenei. It is important to understand that
Khamenei runs Iran.”
Netanyahu said that while Khamenei had “his uses”
for Ahmadinejad, the ayatollah was the decision-maker, and “his commitment to the
eradication of Israel is no less ideological, messianic and apocalyptic than
Ahmadinejad’s; in many ways, I suspect it is even more.”
second term expires in August 2013, and according to the Iranian constitution,
he cannot run for a third term.
Beyond the nuclear issue, the prime
minister said Iran was providing Syrian President Bashar Assad with both the
arms and personnel to butcher his people.
“I think what is happening in
Syria is awful, it is wholesale murder,” Netanyahu said. “And you have to
understand who is supporting this brutality, this butchery – it is Iran and
Hezbollah. I mean supporting them physically. Killers supporting killers,
giving them weapons, personnel to actually do the killing.
has weighed his words on Syria very carefully since the uprising began there
last year, was careful not to answer directly whether he thought the West should
“That’s a decision for the leading powers who are
now talking about it. The less I say as prime minister of Israel, the better.
The more I speak about it, I will be causing damage to the people we want to
help,” he said.
Asked in the interview with Germany’s friendliest paper
toward Israel what he thought about polling numbers showing that only 36% of
Germans found Israel sympathetic, Netanyahu responded that there was a “vast
misperception of Israel in Germany and in Western European society in
Israel, he said, was “maligned day-in, day-out, and this
maligning filters into the public consciousness. That’s a general problem. But
it is particularly unfortunate with Germany because of the unique relationship
and the unique history.”
He praised German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s
commitment to Israel’s security and said that “the recent sale of another German
submarine, an important adjunct to our national security,” exemplified that
commitment. Although he did not refer to a Der Spiegel report this week saying
that Israel had equipped German-supplied submarines with nuclear warheads that
would give the Jewish state a second-strike capability, Netanyahu said the German
submarines were “very important” for Israel’s security.
already supplied Israel with three Dolphin- class submarines, with another three
scheduled for delivery by 2017.