Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said there should be no deal with Iran on its nuclear program unless Tehran backs away from statements calling for Israel’s destruction, as Iran and the leaders of six countries continued negotiating past a Tuesday deadline, the Associated Press reported. Netanyahu’s comments on Wednesday echoed statements he has made on the nuclear talks, including telling members of the U.S. Congress that a pact with Iran would be a “very bad deal.”
Netanyahu, who last month won another term as Israel’s prime minister, said there should be no talk of loosening sanctions on Iran when Tehran has called for Israel’s annihilation and supports terrorism by bankrolling the Hezbollah militant group. A “better deal” would “significantly roll back Iran’s nuclear infrastructure” and restrictions on Tehran’s nuclear program should be tied to “a change in Iran’s behavior,” he said, according to AP.
The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council -- the United States, the United Kingdom, China, France and Russia -- plus Germany are negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program in Lausanne, Switzerland. The talks continued Wednesday despite a Tuesday deadline to get a framework agreement done. A potential deal includes Iran significantly decreasing uranium production, stopping progress on its capacity to enrich uranium, ceasing work at its plutonium nuclear reactor, and allowing nuclear inspectors to observe the program, according to NBC News. In exchange, economic sanctions against Tehran would be eased.
Netanyahu said Iran shouldn’t be allowed to enrich any uranium, instead of the 5 percent cap being discussed in the negotiations. Iran has insisted that its uranium-enrichment program is for peaceful purposes, but Israel, the United States and other countries are concerned that Tehran is trying to build a nuclear weapon.
The March 31 deadline to get a deal done was surpassed after negotiators said enough progress was made to extend the talks. A source from the German delegation told Reuters that an agreement was “possible,” but they noted that nothing had been agreed to as of Wednesday.