Israel welcomes plan for Iranian talks

Thu, Mar 8, 2012, 00:00

ISRAEL HAS cautiously welcomed plans for another round of talks between Iran and the six major powers on Tehran’s nuclear programme, but warned plans for military action would continue.

Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s national security adviser, Yaakov Amidror, said Israel was “very happy” to hear of the negotiations, but warned that “without a real military alternative”, Iran was unlikely to give up its nuclear programme.

“There will be no one happier than us – and the prime minister said this in his own voice – if it emerges that in these talks Iran will give up on its military nuclear capability,” he told Israel Radio.

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton announced on Tuesday that the “big six” powers – the US, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany – would renew talks with Iran, although the time and venue have still to be determined.

Israel’s endorsement of talks seemed to contradict the hardline tone adopted by Mr Netanyahu ahead of his meeting with US president Barack Obama on Monday. He urged the international community to impose three key demands on Iran: the dismantling of the underground uranium enrichment facility near Qom; cessation of uranium enrichment; and removal from Iran of enriched uranium with a higher than 3.5 per cent purity.