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World Politics

Israel warns world powers of repeating Munich deal in Iran nuclear talks


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned it would be an “historic mistake” if Tuesday’s much-awaited talks in Geneva between Iran and world powers led to an easing of sanctions on Tehran. He also urged the international community to reject Iran’s offer to limit uranium enrichment to 20 per cent.

“It would be an historic mistake to relax the pressure on Iran now, a moment before the sanctions achieve their goal,” Mr Netanyahu told the Knesset yesterday. He added any such move would hand a victory to the hard-line Iranian supreme leader, Ali Khamenei.

Mr Netanyahu held to Israel’s position that all uranium enrichment in Iran should be stopped. “I would like to ask what the international reaction would be if Syria were to offer to dismantle only 20 per cent of its chemical weapons and retain the rest. Iran must not be allowed to continue its military nuclear programme and retain its ability to break through to chemical weapons.’’

Minister of Strategic Affairs Yuval Steinitz warned that Tuesday’s talks are in danger of resembling Neville Chamberlain’s Munich Agreement with Nazi Germany if the permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany are not firm in their approach.

“We should do our best to ensure Geneva 2013 does not become like Munich 1938 and that there will be a serious solution that can be trusted for years, and not that there will be some achievement and one or two years later they will detonate [a bomb],” he said.

He warned that if sanctions are eased in return for a partial limiting of uranium enrichment, it will later be difficult to get a full sanctions regime back in place.