Monday, May 21, 2012

Ya'alon: Zero Enrichment is the Only Acceptable Amount

by Hillary Zaken and Times of Israel staff

By entering talks, Tehran is sacrificing ‘a pawn in order to keep the king,’ Moshe Ya’alon warns
Israel’s Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon said on Monday morning that Iran must be prevented from enriching uranium entirely.

In an interview with Army Radio, Ya’alon said that ultimately, Iran must be obligated “to carry out no enrichment whatsoever on Iranian soil — neither to 3.5% nor to 20%.”

As International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano touched down in Tehran ahead of official talks with Islamic Republic representatives about Iran’s nuclear program, Ya’alon said that his fear was that Iran’s current intimations of a willingness for compromise reflect a decision “to sacrifice a pawn in order to keep the king.”

The US will reportedly offer Iran a deal which would allow it to enrich uranium up to 20% in P5+1 talks scheduled in Baghdad later this week.

Israel’s position has been that Iran should not be allowed to enrich any uranium, though officials are reportedly inching toward compromise, Haaretz reported Monday.

It would be “out of the question” for Iran to be allowed to continue any enrichment, Ya’alon said. But Israel was “waiting to see” if there would be gradual progress in this direction — first in Baghdad and then, he said, in Geneva, which would be the next forum for discussion of the issue.

On Sunday, Ya’alon called for Western nations to not let Tehran use negotiations as a stalling maneuver while continuing to enrich uranium. He expressed the belief that, if pressured sufficiently, Iran would give up its nuclear program rather than endanger its continued survival.

Hillary Zaken and Times of Israel staff


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