Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went on a media offensive on Sunday, giving interviews to major networks from all of the world powers involved in the negotiations with Iran over the latter’s controversial nuclear program.
Netanyahu urged that a final agreement between the P5+1 countries and Iran be similar to that made with Syria over its chemical arsenal; that is, compete removal of the ability to manufacture the banned weapons.
The prime minister gave one-on-one interviews with CNN, the British news channel Sky News, Germany’s ARD radio, China’s CCTV, France 24 and Channel 1 Russia.
Speaking to Sky News Netanyahu said that what Israel seeks from Western powers negotiating with Iran is “a good, or no deal.”
“Iran is seeking to keep the materials and the means to make nuclear weapons,” he said. “That is a bad deal.”
The prime minister cautioned against the “surrender agreement” sought by Iran in which it would maintain some of the equipment it needs to enrich uranium for bomb-making but agree not to use it.
As long as the infrastructure remains, even with Western powers monitoring Iran’s nuclear facilities, Tehran can revert to weapons production whenever it wants, Netanyahu asserted.
“Iran at any time could kick the inspectors aside, or deceive them, it’s done that in the past, and rush to make enriched uranium that is necessary to make nuclear bombs,” he said. “That is bad Britain, bad for Europe, bad for the United States, bad for Russia, bad for China, very bad for Israel, bad for the Arabs, bad for the world.”
Calling Iran the “world’s ultimate terror regime,” Netanyahu also warned against the possibility of regional extremist groups obtaining a nuclear device.
“If one of these warring tribes, militant Sunnis or militant Shiites, in this case Shiites led by Iran, get their hands on a nuclear weapon the world will be forever changed because Iran is run by an unforgiving sect.”
Netanyahu pushed for continued leverage on Iran via sanctions until it gives up its nuclear weapons program.
Western powers in ongoing talks with Iran are seeking to ensure that its other controversial nuclear activities — including enrichment of uranium — are of a purely civilian nature, and that the Islamic Republic will never be able to acquire an atomic bomb.
A new round of talks is scheduled for July 2 in Vienna, as Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany work to transform an interim deal into a lasting accord by a self-imposed July 20 deadline.
Under such an agreement, Iran’s nuclear work will be curbed and subject to increased monitoring in exchange for the lifting of painful sanctions choking its oil-reliant economy.
Syria’s government agreed to surrender its arsenal last fall when the US threatened punitive missile strikes after a deadly chemical attack on a rebel-held suburb of Damascus. The regime handed over the last of its declared chemical weapons last week. The final eight percent of the 1,300-ton stockpile, which included mustard gas and raw materials for making sarin nerve gas, were loaded onto Danish and Norwegian ships in the Syrian port of Latakia.
AFP and Associated Press contributed to this report.