Israel reiterates warnings against easing Iranian sanctions ahead of Geneva meet
The Israeli government on Tuesday warned the international community against relaxing Iran's sanctions, hours before a round of nuclear talks with the Islamic Republic in Geneva.
Following a meeting late on Monday, the Israeli security cabinet warned against any “partial agreement that would fail to bring about the full dismantling of the Iranian military nuclear program…(which) could lead to the collapse of the sanctions regime,” Agence France Presse reported.
Iran and six world powers -- the so-called P5+1 countries of the US, the UK, France, Russia and Germany -- are due to engage in closed door negotiations in Geneva later on Tuesday over Iran's nuclear programme.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been at the helm of an anti-Iranian media blitz in recent days, warning against the dangers of Iran having a nuclear weapon and the easing of sanctions on Iran, as per the request of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
Rouhani has maintained a conciliatory tone in the international arena since his election in June, and this has raised hopes of a breakthrough in the decade-long dispute over Iran's nuclear programme, according to AFP.
On Monday, Netanyahu and the Israeli security cabinet reiterated their warnings against Iran, calling on the world powers meeting in Iran to be wary of the Islamic Republic.
“Iran believes it can get by with cosmetic concessions that would not significantly impede its path to developing nuclear weapons, concessions that could be reversed in weeks,” the statement said, AFP reported.
“In exchange, Iran demands an easing of the sanctions, which have taken years to put in place.”
The security cabinet also called on the P5+1 to "reject Iran’s attempts to reach a deal that would leave it with the capability to develop nuclear weapons.”
An Israeli official speaking to AFP added that the seven-member security council met on Monday night but had decided to release their statement on Tuesday morning to coincide with the Geneva talks.
According to AFP's source, Israel does not outright reject the notion of Iran have a peaceful nuclear energy programme -- it just rejects one that involves uranium enrichment or plutonium production.
“Iran claims that it supposedly has the ‘right to enrich.’ But a country that regularly deceives the international community, that violates UN Security Council resolutions ... has no such right,” the statement said, according to AFP.
The Geneva talks are aimed at reaching a solution over Iran’s nuclear programme. Israel and its Western allies claim that Tehran is seeking to develop an atomic bomb -- allegations Iran denies.
As a result of its nuclear programme, Iran has been slapped with several rounds of economic sanctions.
Israel wants Iran to meet four conditions before the sanctions are eased: halting all uranium enrichment; removing all enriched uranium from its territory; closing its underground nuclear facility in Qom; and halting construction of a plutonium reactor, AFP reported.
Israel is refusing to rule out the possibility of future military strikes against the Islamic Republic, with Netanyahu telling the UN General Assembly in New York in September that Israel would act unilaterally if necessary, according to AFP.