PM: No evidence Iran will end nuke program

Speaking in Prague, Netanyahu says goal of upcoming negotiations should be freeze, removal of Iranian enrichment.

May 18, 2012 12:33
3 minute read.
Prime Minister Netanyahu speaking in Prague

Netanyahu in Prague 370. (photo credit: Prime Minister Netanyahu speaking in Prague)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Friday dismissed a new surge of optimism in the international community that Iran might be prepared to halt its nuclear program.

"I have seen no evidence whatsoever that Iran is serous about stopping its nuclear weapons program," Netanyahu said at the tail end of his meeting in Prague with the president of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus.

In their meeting, Netanyahu expressed concern about talks by the six powers — US, Russia, China, France, Germany and Great Britain — on Iran, set to take place in Baghdad on May 23. These talks follow a meeting held in Istanbul in April.

"It looks as though they (Iran) see these talks as another opportunity to deceive and delay, just like North Korean did for years," Netanyahu said. "They may try to go from meeting to meeting with empty promises. They may agree to something in principle but not implement it. They may even agree to implement something that does not materially derail their nuclear weapons program," he said.

"Iran is good at playing this chess game. They know that sometimes you have to sacrifice a pawn to save the King," Netanyahu said.

"The goal of these negotiations should be very clear. Freeze all enrichment inside Iran. Remove all enriched material and dismantle [the uranium enrichment facility near the city of] Qom," he said.

"When this goal is achieved I will be the first to applaud. Until then count me among the skeptics," he said.

Netanyahu arrived in the Czech Republic earlier on Thursday accompanied by seven cabinet ministers, including Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman. After the prime minister met with his counterpart, Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas, the Israeli and Czech delegations signed a joint declaration expressing “concern at Iran’s efforts to enrich uranium for military purposes, even as it threatens to destroy Israel.”

In an

A non-Western envoy said: "Progress has been made. There are still one or two outstanding issues. My impression is that both sides have the willingness to move forward."

Iran denies having a covert atomic bomb agenda, saying it is enriching uranium only for a future network of civilian nuclear power stations and a medical isotope reactor. and Reuters contributed to this report.

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