Netanyahu with Italian counterpart Monti 370.
(photo credit: Avi Ohayon/GPO)
With talks between the world's powers and Iran due to begin later this week, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that the demands on Iran need to be clear: stop enriching uranium, remove already enriched uranium, and close the underground Fordow nuclear facility near Qom.
Netanyahu's comments came during a meeting with visiting Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti.
The prime minister, who said that the Iranians were using the talks to "stall and deceive," said Israel would follow them carefully.
Netanyahu's demands varied slightly from what he said last month in Ottawa
, where he did not say that all enriched uranium had to be removed, but only that enriched beyond 3.5%.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak, however, has put the bar a little lower, saying that all uranium the Iranians possess that is enriched beyond 20% needed to be taken out of the country, but that they could retain a small amount of 3.5% enriched uranium. He also called for an end to Iranian enrichment, and a closure of the Qom facility.
Earlier in the day, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman also related to Iran during his meeting with Monti saying that Israel has "no problem" with the Iranian people, and until the Islamic revolution in 1979 had friendly ties with that country.
Israel's problem, he said, is with the "extreme ayatollahs" leading that country.
Beyond the nuclear problem, Liberman said, Iran also radiates a message of violence and complete disregard for international norms, evident over the last few months in the violent takeover of the British embassy in Tehran, the plan to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in the US, support for Syrian President Bashar Assad's ruthless regime, and the death sense imposed on a Muslim who converted to Christianity.