Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday urged Britian and France not to ease sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program ahead of talks between Iran and the world powers.

Netanyahu called British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande to tell them sanctions were close to achieving their goal, an Israeli official said, according to Reuters.

“Until Iran dismantles its military nuclear program, sanctions must not be eased - on the contrary. Only the pressure brought Iran to this point, and only the continuation of pressure and its strengthening can bring them to dismantle their nuclear program,” Netanyahu was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Worried of the recent diplomatic overtures by Iran to the Western powers, Netanyahu met with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington last week and made a speech at the U.N. General Assembly saying that Israel was ready to stand alone to deny Iran nuclear weapons.

While the West and Israel believe Iran’s nuclear program is aimed at obtaining atomic weapons, moderate President Hassan Rowhani who has made efforts to ease tensions between the West, says his country’s program is for peaceful civilian purposes.

Western diplomats have played down any suggestion Iran’s new openness will result in an immediate loosening of sanctions according to Reuters.

But talks that are due on October 15-16 between six world powers, including Britain and France and Iran are hoped to deliver an opportunity to make progress on ending the decade-long dispute.

Israel is widely believed to have the Middle East’s only nuclear arsenal.
(With Reuters)