Netanyahu urges France not to weaken on Iran talks

PARIS Fri Nov 15, 2013 3:17pm EST

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu heads a special cabinet meeting marking 40 years since the death of David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, in Sde Boker in southern Israel November 10, 2013. REUTERS/David Buimovitch/Pool

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu heads a special cabinet meeting marking 40 years since the death of David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, in Sde Boker in southern Israel November 10, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/David Buimovitch/Pool

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PARIS (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pressed France on Friday not to weaken in its stance toward Iran in upcoming talks on the Islamic state's nuclear program, days before President Francois Hollande is due to visit Israel.

Iran has accused France of blocking agreement last week at talks between Tehran and six world powers in Geneva. Iran is seeking relief from international sanctions, while the six demand curbs in its nuclear activities, including enrichment of uranium.

Hollande travels to Israel on Tuesday for the first time since his election 18 months ago, a visit aides say will focus on the next round of talks in Geneva starting on Wednesday.

"We hope that France will not weaken," Netanyahu told Le Figaro daily in an interview. "We salute (Hollande's) consistent and determined position on the Iranian issue."

Netanyahu reiterated his government's opposition to Iran pursuing any research that could lead to the development of a nuclear weapon, saying it should not possess heavy water reactors or centrifuges used to enrich radioactive material. Tehran says it wants nuclear energy for electricity, not bombs.

Hollande has opposed lifting any economic sanctions on Iran until it provides further guarantees. He is also due to tell Netanyahu that he opposes the further building of Israeli settler homes in the occupied West Bank, Hollande's aides said.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has condemned the construction of new homes on disputed land that Palestinians want as part of a future state, and pressed Israel and the Palestinian Authority to strike a lasting peace accord.

"It is not the construction of homes that is preventing peace," Netanyahu told Le Figaro. "It is a problem that must be solved, but it is not the cause of the conflict."

(Reporting by Elizabeth Pineau and Nicholas Vinocur; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

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Comments (4)
stehling wrote:
The political and personal disaster that is the Obama presidency has been exacerbated as the AIPAC Israel lobby, through the French foreign minister, quietly pulled the rug from under him at Geneva, this week. Notwithstanding his pleading with Congress for patience to allow Secretary, John Kerry, to negotiate a deal with Iran, he was again slapped in the face.

There is now no morning that Barack Obama can awake without wondering what new personal humiliation will be heaped upon him by a House of Representatives chosen by the Israel lobby and fully subscribed to its agenda.

In the Middle East, he is viewed by both Jews and Muslims as an incompetent president without power and without allies who is a lame- duck who should never have been elected to high office.

In this his second term, when he was expected to enforce his will over Congress, he is now virtually unable to get any bill passed no matter how small or inconsequential. And as for foreign policy, he is obliged to submit every proposal to the Israel lobby for its authority to proceed.

This presidency is not merely an embarrassment but a liability to America and the world that shows how democracy can be corrupted by anonymous lobbyists and powerful corporations.

It is a specific warning to Europe and the EU to ensure control over the activities of unelected political lobbies, very carefully indeed.

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Nov 15, 2013 4:27pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Butch_from_PA wrote:
At least Obama is keeping the USA’s nose more and more out of the middle east. Let them sort their own differences. Fake like you are playing ball to let Iran get nukes so they are on the same playing game as Israel and at least 2 countries will then finally be at peace.

No countries with nukes attack other countries with nukes.

Obama is an f-up domestically, however with global affairs – he is alright in my books.

Nov 15, 2013 6:22pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Kans111 wrote:
Israel is a very poverty stricken country. Netanyahu needs to stay home and figure a way to feed the poor. Same for Obama and our poor in America. They should come first. We do not need to be creating wars.

Nov 15, 2013 7:53pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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