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Middle east

Israel 'utterly rejects' proposed Iran nuclear deal

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-11-08

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday told US Secretary of State John Kerry that Israel totally rejected a hoped-for nuclear agreement with Iran, as the top US diplomat headed to landmark talks in Geneva seeking an accord.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday that he “utterly rejects” a proposed agreement between western powers and Iran over its nuclear programme, calling it a “bad deal” and promising that Israel will do everything it needs to do to defend itself.

Israel believes Iran is trying to develop a nuclear weapon, and says international pressure should be stepped up, not eased, to force Tehran to dismantle its nuclear programme.

Netanyahu has repeatedly threatened to attack Iran, unilaterally if necessary, if he concludes that diplomatic pressure on Iran has failed.

He spoke before a Tel Aviv meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry, who was en route to Geneva Friday to meet the Iranians.

Kerry’s decision to fly to Geneva comes amid signs that global powers and Iran were close to a deal that would cap some of Iran’s suspected nuclear programme in exchange for limited relief from economic sanctions.

French, British and German ministers to join talks

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius was also travelling to Switzerland on Friday to join the talks, and his unexpected attendance will further fuel speculation that a historic agreement may be in sight.

He will also be joined by German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle. British Foreign Secretary William Hague also tweeted Friday that he was "heading to Geneva for Iran talks."

Despite hopes of a deal, Israel remains highly sceptical of Tehran’s intentions.

“I understand the Iranians are walking around very satisfied in Geneva – as well they should because they got everything and paid nothing,” Netanyahu told reporters.

“They wanted relief after years of gruelling sanctions, they got that. They paid nothing because they are not reducing in any way their nuclear enrichment capability. So Iran got the deal of the century and the international community got a bad deal,” Netanyahu said.

“This is a very bad deal and Israel utterly rejects it. Israel is not obliged by this agreement and Israel will do everything it needs to do to defend itself and defend the security of its people,” he said.

US wants to 'help narrow differences' with Iran

Tehran denies it has any ambitions to make nuclear weapons. Since President Hassan Rouhani took office in August, Iran has made overtures suggesting it is prepared to scale back its enrichment of uranium in return for the easing of crippling Western sanctions.

Washington, which has not had diplomatic relations with Iran for three decades, has repeatedly said it is going into the talks with an open mind, seeking to explore the diplomatic possibilities of bringing its suspect nuclear programme under international control.

A senior State Department official said that since the first round of talks with the Rouhani administration last month, Kerry has been open to the possibility of travelling to Geneva for this current round if it would "help narrow differences."

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2013-11-08

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