Prime minister warns US that a bad deal is worse than no deal.
By TOVAH LAZAROFF
A bad deal is worse than no deal, if it leaves Iran with the capacity to produce nuclear weapons, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned US Secretary of State John Kerry before the two met met together in Rome on Wednesday.
“I think a partial deal that leaves Iran with these capabilities is a bad deal,” Netanyahu said.
Their conversation was expected to focus in part on a perceived strategic difference between them with regard to disarming Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
Israel believes that the international community must continue to pressure Iran economically until its dismantles is nuclear weapons facilities and removes enriched uranium from the country. It fears that the US and other world powers would ease financial pressure against Iran in exchange for an agreement with Tehran in which it would curb but not halt its program.
“Iran must not have a nuclear weapons capability, which means that they shouldn’t have centrifuges or enrichment,” Netanyahu said.
“They shouldn’t have a plutonium heavy water plant, which is used only for nuclear weapons. They should get rid of the advanced fissile material and they shouldn’t have underground nuclear facilities, underground for one reason – for military purposes,” he said.
Netanyahu urged Kerry to apply the principles he used with regard to Syrian chemical weapons with Iran. The US refused to accept a partial deal with Iran, the way it did with Syria, Netanyahu said.
Israel and the US both want a peaceful end to Iran’s nuclear weapons program, Netanyahu said and added that the best way to achieve that was with continued financial pressure.
“I think it’ll be a tragic mistake to stop right before that goal is realized. And I look forward to discussing this issue with you,” Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu noted that he and Kerry spoke almost every other day about Iran and the renewed Israeli Palestinian peace process.
Peace with the Palestinians he said is based on their recognition of Israel as the Jewish state for the Jewish people and on their acceptance of Israel’s security needs.
“I think these are the two twin pillars for peace and I look forward to discussing how we can advance both goals in our discussions today and undoubtedly our discussions tomorrow as well,” Netanyahu said.
Kerry said that with regard to Tehran, US’s eyes were “wide open” and that it was “vital” for any Iranian nuclear energy program to live up to the standards of other similar international programs.
“We will need to know that actions are being taken which make it crystal clear, undeniably clear, fail-safe to the world that whatever program is pursued is indeed a peaceful program,” Kerry said.
“No deal is better than a bad deal but if this can be solved satisfactorily diplomatically it is clearly better for everyone,” Kerry said.