Netanyahu plays down reports of Iran 'progress', stands firm on policy
On Meet the Press, Israeli PM outlines three conditions for him to support thawing assets.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu affirmed Sunday in an interview with NBC's Meet the Press that Israel's policy is to step up pressure on Iran to end its nuclear program, reiterating that he would only agree to easing sanctions if Iran fully agreed to certain Western demands.
When asked by host David Gregory whether reports indicating that Iran is willing to scale back its uranium enrichment program signal "a major sign of progress," Netanyahu responded: "Depends how conversations end up. The question is not one of hope but actual result. The result has to be full dismantling of Iran's nuclear program. If that is achieved that would be very good. If it is achieved peacefully, even better."
Netanyahu's statements come just hours after his weekly cabinet meeting, where he warned that the Geneva talks might "give legitimacy" to the Iranian regime. "The right attitude in the face of this regime should be to respect it, suspect it and pressure it," Netanyahu added.
During the Meet the Press interview, Netanyahu reiterated this stance. "My policy has been consistent. Pressure has to be maintained, even increased on Iran... You don't want to go through halfway measures."
Gregory also asked Netanyahu what he thinks of the Obama administration's announcement it would be open to easing sanctions on Iran by offering access to billions of dollars in frozen funds if the government took steps to curb its program.
Netanyahu added that Iran's assets were frozen for three particular reasons, adding that he would support a reversal of position only if the Islamic Republic ceased these activities.
"As far as freezing of assets: those assests were frozen for 1) Iran's terrorist actions 2) aggressive action, particularly in the Gulf and 3) continued refusal to stop the production of weapons of mass destruction. If you get all three done and they stop doing it, I supposed you could unfreeze."