Netanyahu: New Iranian leader won’t stop nuclear program
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Netanyahu: New Iranian leader won’t stop nuclear program

Prime minister cautions against 'wishful thinking,' says incoming president Rowhani has a 'talk and enrich' policy

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird on June 18, 2013. (Photo credit: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO/FLASH90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird on June 18, 2013. (Photo credit: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO/FLASH90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Tuesday that the new Iranian president has been very clear about Iran’s nuclear policy, and that neither Israel nor the world should delude themselves into thinking that policy will change under his tenure.

“Wishful thinking is not a substitute for policy. The new Iranian president has been very clear. He is the author of a doctrine. You could call it ‘talk and enrich’ — that is, ‘talk and continue to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons.’ He said that that by calming the international community, Iran is able to steadily move forward in its nuclear weapons program,” said Netanyahu.

At a meeting with Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird in Jerusalem, the prime minister praised Canada for imposing a trade ban on Iran last month, saying that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper should be commended for his “important leadership on this crucial issue.”

Earlier this week, Netanyahu took a cautious line on the outcome of the Iranian presidential elections that saw relatively moderate candidate Hasan Rowhani win with almost 51% of the votes on Saturday, stressing that the pressure on Iran must be kept up.

“We cannot allow Iran to play this game. We cannot let Iran ride out the clock through endless talks,” cautioned Netanyahu.

The prime minister Tuesday laid out conditions Iran must meet to alleviate international sanctions that have been hitting the country hard.

“1. A total cessation of all enrichment of nuclear materials at all levels. 2. The removal from Iran of all enriched nuclear material. 3. The closure of Iran’s illicit nuclear facilities. And until Iran meets these demands, the pressure must be stepped up. The Iranian nuclear weapons program must be stopped, period.”

Baird said that Canada was following the events very closely, adding that it was interested in seeing Iran change course.

“Canada has the toughest sanctions in the world and we have no intention of changing those sanctions until the Iranian regime changes course. This is an opportunity, and we trust in the coming days and weeks we will see the beginning of a change of course from the regime in Tehran. We think that is tremendously important. But until they change course by action, the international community must stand together for strength and resolve to ensure that they do take a different path, the path that the United Nations is calling for them to do so,” said Baird.

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