Israel: No Objection to West's Talks With Tehran

Israel does not object to talks between the West and Iran intended to stop Iran's nuclearization, as long as Iran does not take advantage of these talks, a top source in Benjamin Netanyahu's government told Haaretz yesterday.

The source was commenting on the announcement by U.S. President Barack Obama's administration that it will fully participate in talks with Iran on its nuclear program, putting the ball in Tehran's court with a new engagement policy.

Israel expects the international community to act firmly to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, the Israeli source said.

Iran will be a central issue at Netanyahu's scheduled meeting with Obama in the next month. The two will also discuss the Palestinian issue.

The United States and five other powers - Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia - extended an invitation for direct talks with Iran, a U.S. arch foe since its 1979 Islamic Revolution.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday she did not view the latest Iranian claims about its nuclear program as a rebuff to U.S. overtures to engage Tehran.