Clinton highlights gaps between US and Israel on Iran

US secretary of state says at upcoming talks, Iran should be ready to take concrete steps, particularly in the area of 20% enrichment.”

Hillary Clinton 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Hillary Clinton 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Differences between Israel and the US over the world powers’ negotiating strategy with Iran came into the open Thursday when US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talked of the need for Iran to come to nuclear talks ready to curb its enrichment of uranium to 20 percent purity.
“We want them to come prepared to take concrete steps, particularly in the area of 20% enrichment,” Clinton told reporters in Istanbul, referring to the upcoming meeting on Iran’s nuclear program scheduled for Moscow on June 18-19.
Enriching uranium to 20% brings it closer to developing bomb grade material.
In recent days Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has made clear that he does not believe curbing the enrichment to 20% is sufficient, and that in previous talks with the Iranians the world demanded that it stop all its enrichment, even to 3.5%.
“The P5+1 is so keen on getting any agreement, that they have lowered the demands,” Netanyahu said this week in an interview with Germany’s Bild newspaper, referring to the US, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany, which are engaged with the Iranians.
“The Iranians were only asked to stop 20% enrichment of uranium. That doesn’t stop their nuclear program in any way. It actually allows them to continue their nuclear program,” he declared.
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One government official said that the international community was well aware that Israel did not think what was currently being asked of the Iranians was enough.
Jerusalem has said that Iran needed to stop all uranium enrichment, transfer all enriched uranium out of the country and close down the underground nuclear facility at Qom.
In addition, Israeli officials have called on the P5+1 to stiffen existing economic sanctions, upgrade demands and make it clear to the Iranians that “one way or another” it will not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons.
Reuters contributed to this report.