PM: Iran using nuclear talks to mislead the West
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PM: Iran using nuclear talks to mislead the West

Senior Iranian official calls demands by Western powers ‘irrational’

Benjamin Netanyahu (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Benjamin Netanyahu (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Iran is using negotiations to “try to delay and mislead” the West, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday following a meeting with his Italian counterpart.

“Our policy concerning Iran hasn’t changed,” said Netanyahu to Prime Minister Mario Monti. “The demands from Iran must be made clear –- to remove enriched material, to halt [uranium] enrichment and dismantle the facility in Qom.”

He added that Israel would be following the upcoming talks on Iran’s nuclear program, which EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton confirmed Sunday would take place in Istanbul on April 14.

A file satellite image taken Sunday Sept. 27, 2009, provided by DigitalGlobe, shows a suspected nuclear enrichment facility under construction inside a mountain located north of Qom. (photo credit: AP)
A file satellite image taken Sunday Sept. 27, 2009, provided by DigitalGlobe, shows a suspected nuclear enrichment facility under construction inside a mountain located north of Qom. (photo credit: AP)

Iran remained adamant Sunday that it would not close its Fordo nuclear power facility, which is built deep inside a mountain near the holy city of Qom. In an interview with the Iranian Students’ News Agency, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization also said that the Islamic republic will not give up higher-level uranium enrichment. Such demands are “irrational,” said Fereydoon Abbasi Davani.

“If they do not threaten us and guarantee that no aggression will occur, then there would be no need for countries to build facilities underground. They should change their behavior and language,” he told the official media outlet.

The demands regarding the facility in Qom and the enrichment of uranium were announced Saturday in a front-page New York Times article, which quoted anonymous United States and European Union diplomats.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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