News / Middle East

Netanyahu to Lobby World Powers Against Iran Nuclear Deal

French President Francois Hollande (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu embrace during the official reception upon Hollande's arrival at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv, Nov. 17, 2013.
French President Francois Hollande (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu embrace during the official reception upon Hollande's arrival at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv, Nov. 17, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu launched an intensive campaign on Sunday to convince world powers to toughen terms of a proposed nuclear deal with Iran ahead of negotiations reconvening this week in Geneva.

After meeting Francois Hollande on Sunday as part of a three-day state visit by the French president, Netanyahu was scheduled to travel to Moscow to see Russian President Vladimir Putin and return to Israel to meet U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday.

Netanyahu has condemned a proposal, to be discussed in a third round of talks between six world powers and Tehran on Nov. 20 - 23, to ease economic sanctions on Iran if it suspends parts of its nuclear program.

“I hope that we will be able to persuade our friends during this week and in the days that follow to get a much better agreement,” Netanyahu said in public remarks at the start of a weekly cabinet meeting.

Netanyahu says tough measures must not only remain but be strengthened until Iran dismantles its entire uranium enrichment program, arguing that anything less would enable it to develop nuclear bombs.

His position has found support in the U.S. Congress, where legislation to impose tough new sanctions could come to the Senate floor in the coming week.

The prime minister said the issue would top the agenda in his talks with Hollande. Israel has praised France for taking a tough stance in the previous round.

Hollande opposes lifting any sanctions on Iran until it provides further guarantees that it is not pursuing atomic weapons. Tehran accuses France of blocking an agreement.

At a welcoming ceremony at Tel Aviv airport attended by Netanyahu, Hollande said France was taking Israel's concerns into account on the Iranian issue, adding in Hebrew: “I will always remain a friend of Israel.”

Kerry has caused a stir in Israel by accusing it of over-reacting in its opposition to the proposed deal.

“John Kerry is a old friend of mine and is also a friend of Israel,” Netanyahu said, voicing a more conciliatory tone than at the end of an acrimonious visit by the top U.S. diplomat last week.

“I want to clarify that even among the best of friends there can be disagreements, certainly on matters that concern our future and our destiny,” the Israeli leader said.

Netanyahu has said he would not be bound by the terms of the Iran deal and reiterated that Israel, widely believed to have the Middle East's only nuclear arsenal, could take military action if it thought Iran was close to getting an atomic bomb.

Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

In Washington on Friday, a senior U.S. official said that a deal was “quite possible” at the upcoming talks in Geneva although tough issues remained unresolved.

“For the first time in nearly a decade, we are getting close to a first step... that would stop the Iranian nuclear program from advancing and roll it back in key areas,” the official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

U.S. President Barack Obama has urged U.S. lawmakers not to impose new sanctions on Iran while talks continue.

Relations with close allies Israel and the United States have also been strained recently over the lack of progress in peace talks with Palestinians.

Kerry has censured Israeli settlement building in the occupied West Bank, and Hollande's aides said he would also convey his disapproval of settlement expansion.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid