Israel urged world powers that resumed talks with Iran on Tuesday to demand a full rollback of the Iranian nuclear program and not to ease economic sanctions on Tehran prematurely.
A rare statement by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyau’s security cabinet said it had “adopted unanimously” his long-standing call that Iranian uranium enrichment and plutonium facilities be shut down and all fissile material shipped abroad.
“It would be a historic mistake not to take full advantage of the sanctions, by making concessions before ensuring the dismantling of Iran’s nuclear weapons program,” said the statement.
“These negotiations begin at a time when the Iranian regime is under great pressure because of the sanctions and is desperately trying to have them removed,” the seven-minister security cabinet said. “Sanctions must not be eased when they are so close to achieving their intended purpose.”
Speaking later in the Knesset, and marking 40 years since the Yom Kippur War, Netanyahu said Israel must never again underestimate its enemies nor rule out pre-emptive action.
Sometimes, he said, inaction from fear over how the world would react to Israeli military moves could end up being more costly to Israel down the line.
“A pre-emptive war, and a pre-emptive strike, are among the hardest decisions a government must make because it will never be able to prove what would have happened had it not acted,” he said, without mentioning Iran directly.
At least one member of the security cabinet, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, previously objected to Netanyahu’s rhetoric about the danger of a nuclear-armed Iran.