Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday condemned world powers engaged in nuclear talks with Iran for allegedly softening the demands on the Islamic Republic, as he pushed through additional economic sanctions.
“After a few rounds of talks – I am sorry to say that the demands from Iran are not enough,” Netanyahu said during a speech at the Institute for National Security Studies.”I hoped the P5+1 will demand that Iran halt all enrichment – but instead they are lowering their demands from Iran.”
The P5+1 – Russia, China, France, Britain, the United States and Germany – failed to come to an agreement with Iran in the last round of talks in Baghdad. They demanded Iran stop 20 percent enrichment of uranium, despite being offered wider access to non-nuclear sites in Iran and despite the authoritative consensus of the U.S. intelligence community that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons and has demonstrated no intention to do so.
Netanyahu is now pushing through additional sanctions on Iran, limiting Israeli investment in corporations that have “major business connections” with Iran. “Not only do we need to tighten the sanctions on Iran, we also need to toughen the demands from Iran and see their implementation.”
Given that the threat of a nuclear Iran is nonexistent, its clear Israel’s bluster about Iran has little to do with fears of an Iranian bomb over Tel Aviv. As former CIA Middle East analyst Paul Pillar has written, “the Iran issue” provides a “distraction” from international “attention to the Palestinians’ lack of popular sovereignty.”
For the Obama administration, Iran’s right to enrich uranium for civilian purposes is not being denied outright. They admit Iran has not nuclear weapons program. But they are determined to prevent Iran from so-called “nuclear capability” – not because of proliferation concerns, but because such a deterrent would hinder U.S. efforts at regime change.