A final agreement on the Iranian nuclear program that leaves Tehran with any enrichment capacity is unacceptable, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday — two days after US President Barack Obama had said precisely the opposite.
Meeting with Guatemalan President Otto Fernando Perez Molina in Jerusalem, Netanyahu urged the international community to clamp down on Iran’s military and nuclear capabilities, and elaborated on what he regards as an acceptable resolution of the crisis under a permanent settlement with Iran.
“Here’s what this means: no enrichment, no centrifuges, no heavy water reactor, no weapons program, no ballistic missiles and a change in Iran’s policies — no genocide against Israel, no terrorist support, no undermining of regimes in the Middle East,” Netanyahu said, according to a statement from his office.
The prime minister’s comments came two days after Obama, in remarks to the Saban Forum in Washington, said he could “envision an end state that gives us an assurance that even if [the Iranians] have some modest enrichment capability, it is so constrained and the inspections are so intrusive that they, as a practical matter, do not have breakout capacity.”
In his own address to the same forum, on Sunday, Netanyahu had said that a permanent deal with Iran needed to ensure the “termination” of its “military nuclear capability,” but did not specify an end to all enrichment, giving rise to some speculation that he could be reconciled to Obama’s formula.
In that Sunday address, Netanyahu had said, “… the sanctions remain an essential element of the international effort to compel Iran to dismantle its nuclear military infrastructure: to take apart the centrifuges; to tear down the heavy water reactor; to eliminate the current stockpiles of enriched uranium; to cease the development of ballistic missiles and the work on weaponization, which, by the way, the Geneva agreement does not address. None of these things that Iran insists it must have — none of them is necessary for a peaceful nuclear program.”
Molina told Netanyahu Monday that his country shared Israel’s concerns over Iran’s nuclear program.
“It is a tradition for Guatemala, we have always been in favor of nonproliferation of nuclear weapons, both in Latin America as well as in the rest of the world, and we hope that this concern that we can see today, which is a great threat to the State of Israel, will find a resolution as soon as possible,” he said, according to the statement.
Mitch Ginsburg and Stuart Winer contributed to this report.