Netanyahu: Israel Unaware of Any Breakthrough in U.S.-Iran Nuclear Talks

PM says Israel knows nothing of New York Times report on negotiations, but stresses that Iran using talks to advance its nuclear program; White House and Iran both deny the report.

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded Sunday to the New York Times report on direct talks between the U.S. and Iran, saying Israel is unaware of any such breakthrough.

Netanyahu, speaking at the Home Front Command drill in Holon, said the Israeli government does not have any information regarding U.S.-Iran nuclear talks.

"Iran is using negotiations and talks in order to gain time and advance its nuclear program," Netanyahu said. "I have no reason to believe that in talks with the U.S. Iran would behave differently."

"The diplomatic way to halt the nuclear program is a combination of harsh sanctions and a military option," he said. "As long as I am the prime minister of Israel I would not allow Iran to reach military nuclear capability."

A senior source in the Prime Minister's Office also said that Israel does not know of any renewal of talks with Iran.

"Iran must halt all uranium enrichment, remove the enriched uranium in its possession from the country, and to dismantle the underground facility near Qom," said the senior official. "The only way this will happen is stepping up sanctions on Iran in addition to a credible military threat against Iran."

On Saturday night, the New York Times reported that the United States and Iran agreed for the first time to launch one-on-one negotiations over Iran's nuclear program.

This could mark a final diplomatic effort to avert military action against Iran, the U.S. newspaper noted.

Iran wants to start the talks only after the United States chooses its next president in early November, a senior Obama official reportedly told the paper. This is because Tehran wants to know who it will be negotiating with, the official said.

The White House, however, was quick to deny the report. In a statement, National Security Council Spokesman Tommy Vietor said it was "not true" that the two sides had agreed to direct talks.

"It’s not true that the United States and Iran have agreed to one-on-one talks or any meeting after the American elections. We continue to work with the P-5 on a diplomatic solution and have said from the outset that we would be prepared to meet bilaterally," the statement said.

According to the New York Times report, the agreement was reached following intense, secret negotiations that started shortly after Barack Obama entered the White House four years ago.

Iran also denied the report on Sunday, with Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi saying: "We don't have any discussions or negotiations with America."
"The [nuclear] talks are ongoing with the P5+1 group of nations. Other than that, we have no discussions with the United States," he added.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at Iran's nuclear enrichment facility in Natanz.Credit: AP

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

SUBSCRIBE
Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer

Newly appointed Israeli ambassador to Chile, Gil Artzyeli, poses for a group picture alongside Rabbi Yonatan Szewkis, Chilean deputy Helia Molina and Gerardo Gorodischer, during a religious ceremony in a synagogue in Vina del Mar, Chile last week.

Chile Community Leaders 'Horrified' by Treatment of Israeli Envoy

Queen Elizabeth attends a ceremony at Windsor Castle, in June 2021.

Over 120 Countries, but Never Israel: Queen Elizabeth II's Unofficial Boycott