Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the world to step up sanctions against Iran and prevent it from enriching uranium to 20 per cent, Netanyahu said during a wide ranging policy address at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv yesterday.
“I say with satisfaction that the sanctions are pressuring them [Iran] … but the real test will be if they [the Iranians] agree to dismantle their nuclear reactors and stop their enrichment programme,” Netanyahu said. He added that Iran should also get rid of the enriched uranium it currently has in its possession.
Netanyahu also criticised the P5+1 – the permanent members of the Security Council and Germany – for lowering their demands from Tehran at the latest round of talks in Baghdad. “After a few rounds of talks – I am sorry to say that the demands from Iran are not enough,” Netanyahu said. “I hoped the P5+1 will demand that Iran halt all enrichment – but instead they are lowering their demands from Iran”.
“Not only do we need to tighten the sanctions on Iran, we also need to toughen the demands from Iran and see their implementation,” Netanyahu stressed.
Addressing the peace process, Netanyahu called on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the negotiating table, while rebuffing the notion that an Israeli-Palestinian agreement would bring peace to the Middle East. Netanyahu asked Abbas to restart peace talks. Israel “does not wish to govern the Palestinians,” Netanyahu said, but added that Jerusalem demands the Palestinians to recognise the Jewish state as legitimate.
Referencing earlier speeches in which he endorsed a two-state solution, the prime minister called on Abbas “not to pass up this opportunity” to achieve peace. However, Netanyahu added that Israeli-Palestinian peace is not a panacea for the problems in the region, and that extremists on both sides will always try to ruin any peace arrangement between the two peoples.