PM urges European leaders not to lift Iran sanctions

PM urges European leaders not to lift Iran sanctions

Netanyahu tells Hollande, Cameron to be wary of Tehran, and that economic pressure is close to achieving its goal of halting nuke program

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to reporters during a press conference, Tuesday, October 8, 2013 (photo credit: Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to reporters during a press conference, Tuesday, October 8, 2013 (photo credit: Flash90)

Western sanctions on Iran are close to achieving their desired result of bringing Iran’s military nuclear program to a halt, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told European leaders in phone conversations over the weekend, according to a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office Saturday.

Speaking ahead of new P5+1 talks with Iran in Geneva this coming week, Netanyahu told French President Francois Hollande and British Prime Minister David Cameron that the sanctions should not be lifted as long as Iran continues enriching uranium for the development of nuclear weapons, officials in Jerusalem said Saturday.

According to the officials, Netanyahu also warned Hollande and Cameron that Iran had ignored UN Security Council resolutions in the past, and that Tehran has been directly involved in terrorist activities across the globe.

The prime minister added that Iran has provided Syrian President Bashar Assad with military assets that have been used to “slaughter” civilians in the country.

On Friday, Hollande vowed that France will take a tough stance when negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program and would expect tough concessions from the Islamic Republic.

Hollande stressed that France was waiting to see if Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s recent remarks regarding his willingness to halt uranium enrichment in return for the easing of Western sanctions will be “translated into actions,” AFP reported.

In a series of interviews with European media outlets Thursday, Netanyahu said that if the international community lifts sanctions on Iran without ensuring the guaranteed end to uranium enrichment, Europe and the rest of the world will face hundreds of nuclear weapons in the hands of a “murderous” regime.

“If the sanctions are eased,” Netanyahu warned, “[Tehran] will get everything they want and we, as a collective, will get nothing.”

“Don’t tell me I didn’t warn you. It’s important to emphasize that this isn’t an Israeli issue. It’s also your concern,” he added.

In recent weeks, Iran has begun negotiating directly with the US over its nuclear program and severe sanctions imposed by Western powers. On Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Iran will offer to limit its production of nuclear fuel in exchange for an easing of international sanctions. Tehran will reportedly make the offer at a conference of the P5+1 world powers, slated to take place next week in Geneva, that diplomats hope will mark a new chapter in Western relations with Iran, officials familiar with the upcoming talks said.

Iran is expected to offer “to stop enriching uranium to levels of 20% purity, which international powers consider dangerously close to a weapons-grade capability,” agree to ship its stockpile of nuclear fuel to a third country for storage, open its nuclear facilities to more thorough international inspections, and close the enrichment facility near Qom.

Late Wednesday, Israeli TV reported that the US and Iran were making significant progress toward a deal that would aim to keep Iran two to three years from a nuclear weapons capability.

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