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Israel Warns West against ‘Bad Deal’ with Iran

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu heads a special cabinet meeting marking 40 years since the death of David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, in Sde Boker in southern Israel, Nov. 10, 2013.
Talks between six world powers and Iran on curbing Tehran's nuclear program ended without an agreement on Sunday in Geneva, but Western leaders say they are bridging the gaps on a deal. The talks, which are due to resume on November 20, are raising alarm bells in Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is warning the West not to sign any agreement with Iran that leaves its capability to build nuclear weapons intact.

He told his Cabinet the emerging agreement does not require Iran to “dismantle even one centrifuge,” and therefore it is “a bad and dangerous deal.”

Netanyahu said he spoke by telephone over the weekend with U.S. President Barack Obama as well as the leaders of Britain, France, Russia and Germany.

“I asked them what is the rush?” he said. He told them that easing sanctions on Iran while it retains its nuclear enrichment capability endangers not only Israel, but also the whole world.

Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, but Israel fears the Islamic Republic is building nuclear weapons that could threaten the existence of the Jewish state. Israel has warned time and again that if diplomacy fails, it is prepared to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities on its own.

Netanyahu said the Western powers are determined to reach an understanding with Iran, but he urged them not to make a deal “at any price.”

He said the international community should keep the sanctions on Iran in place and hold out for a “good agreement” with better terms.

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