Benjamin Netanyahu Pleads With Vladimir Putin for Tougher Stand on Iran

Premier Jets to Moscow for Nuclear Talks

getty images

By Reuters

Published November 20, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged Russia on Wednesday to insist world powers set tough terms for Iran in any deal reached in the standoff over Tehran’s nuclear program.

After failing to convince Washington that global powers are pursuing a bad deal, Netanyahu flew to Moscow to meet President Vladimir Putin as envoys from Russia, the United States, China, France, Britain and Germany met Iranian negotiators in Geneva.

The negotiators are discussing easing economic sanctions in return for curbs on Tehran’s disputed nuclear programme.

Netanyahu suggested after meeting Putin that Israel would be satisfied only if Iran ended all its nuclear work and cited a deal reached on the destruction of all Syria’s chemical arms as a model to follow.

“For Israel, the greatest threat to us and to the security of the world is Iran’s attempt to arm itself with nuclear weapons. Both our countries have a joint objective: We do not want to see Iran with nuclear weapons,” he said.

“There is a lot to be learned from the solution achieved in Syria over the chemical weapons, where Russia and others rightly insisted on full dismantling of Syria’s chemical weapons.”

Citing the Syria agreement, which helped avert the threat of U.S. military strikes over a gas attack which Washington blames on Syrian government forces, Netanyahu added: “We think that it is possible to reach a better deal (over Iran) and it will require perseverance and insistence, of course.”

He and Putin, however, gave few details of their meeting in the Kremlin. Putin said they had discussed Iran in detail and added only that he was hopeful of a positive result from the talks in Geneva. There was no sign that Russia had shifted its position on Iran in any way.

ISRAELI CONCERNS

Israel, thought to have the Middle East’s only nuclear arsenal, sees a nuclear-armed Iran as a mortal threat and wants its uranium enrichment capabilities dismantled and its enriched uranium removed. Tehran denies seeking atomic weapons.

Netanyahu says the deal now under negotiation, the exact details of which have not been disclosed, would still enable Tehran to build an atomic bomb quickly if it chose to do so.

The right-wing Israeli leader, locked in his most serious dispute yet with U.S. President Barack Obama, has made veiled threats of Israeli military action against Iran if negotiators sign what he has called an “exceedingly bad deal” in Geneva.

He has dismissed widespread scepticism over Israel’s ability to cause lasting damage to Iran’s distant, dispersed and well-defended facilities.

Israel’s military chief, Lieutenant-General Benny Gantz, told reporters his task was “to ensure we retain and continue to strengthen relevant capabilities” to tackle Iran if necessary.

Russia, which built Iran’s first nuclear power plant and remains on better terms with Tehran than Western powers, has expressed less suspicion than them about Iran’s nuclear work.

“Our job is to try to sway the Russians, as we have been doing with all the players,” said Deputy Israeli Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin, who accompanied Netanyahu to Moscow.

“Russia is not going to adopt Israeli positions wholesale. But any movement, even small, in the Russian position can affect the negotiations,” Elkin told Israel Radio.

Moscow is hopeful the Geneva talks will produce a preliminary deal this week to ease the nuclear standoff.

Without mentioning Netanyahu by name, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov referred to his warnings of a “historic mistake” that would win time for Iran to make a nuclear bomb, which he said were “removed from reality”.

Lavrov has also suggested Iran was prepared to produce less enriched uranium and halt production of uranium enriched to a fissile concentration of 20 percent, a relatively short step from weapons-grade material. Those are two of the concessions Western powers want Iran to take, but they fall far short of Netanyahu’s demands for shutting certain Iranian nuclear sites.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.