Netanyahu: Iran's Nuclear Program Threatens 'Survival of My Country'

'Best of friends can have different opinions,' Netanyahu tells CNN.

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Iran's nuclear program is a direct threat to Israel's survival Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview with CNN's State of the Union to be broadcast Sunday morning.

"I’m the prime minister of Israel and I have to care for the survival of my country," he said during the short preview of Sunday's interview. "Iran maintaining its nuclear weapons capability; that is the capacity to produce nuclear weapons threatens directly the future of the Jewish state."

Netanyahu acknowledged Israel has taken a tougher stance than the United States on a potential deal with Iran when it warned against lifting of sanctions in return for a freeze to uranium enrichment.

"Friends – the best of friends – can have different opinions," he said. "We agree on a lot of things but somethings, we disagree on."

The United States has made clear to Israel that, despite Israel’s concerns, economic relief to Iran will not lead to the collapse of the sanctions. “The relief we are considering as part of an initial phase would be limited, temporary, targeted and reversible,” a senior Treasury official said.

The third round of talks between Iran and the P5 + 1 countries – the United States, France, Germany, Russia, Britain and China - will open in Geneva on Wednesday. Senior U.S. officials said Friday that the parties were getting closer to a “first step” agreement, in which Iran will reduce its nuclear program in exchange for economic relief.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Nov. 10, 2013.Credit: Reuters

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