Netanyahu: ‘Astonishing’ that nuclear talks with Iran are proceeding

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it “astonishing” that nuclear talks with Iran are proceeding despite a report saying it is hiding military components of its nuclear program.

He also reiterated his intention to travel to the United States next week to deliver a controversial address on the Iran deal to Congress.


“It is astonishing that even after the recent IAEA report determined that Iran is continuing to hide the military components of its nuclear program, the nuclear talks with it are proceeding. Not only are they continuing, there is an increased effort to reach a nuclear agreement in the coming days and weeks,” Netanyahu said Sunday at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting.

The target date for the outline of an agreement, which Netanyahu said will “threaten (Israel’s) existence,” is March 28, with a signed agreement by June 30.

“The agreement that is being formulated between Iran and the major powers is dangerous for Israel and therefore I will go to the U.S. next week in order to explain to the American Congress, which could influence the fate of the agreement, why this agreement is dangerous for Israel, the region and the entire world,” Netanyahu told his Cabinet.

The U.N. atomic watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, in a report released Thursday said that Iran is limiting its testing of its uranium refinement capacities yet failing to cooperate with international nuclear inspectors, by hiding “nuclear-related activities involving military-related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile.”

Still, talks between Iran and the world powers resumed Sunday in Geneva.