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Middle East

Israel PM says Iran only winner from nuclear talks

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) stands next to Peru's President Ollanta Humala during their joint press conference in Jerusalem on February 17, 2014. (AFP PHOTO / POOL / RONEN ZVULUN)

JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that Iran is the only beneficiary of nuclear talks with world powers and accused Tehran of "continuing its aggressive behaviour."

His remarks came on the eve of fresh talks between Iran and the P5+1 group -- Britain, France, the United States, China and Russia plus Germany -- aimed at reaching a comprehensive accord on Tehran's controversial nuclear programme.

Israel was highly critical of an interim deal reached in November under which Iran agreed to freeze or scale back its nuclear activities for a six-month period in exchange for limited sanctions relief.

"So far the only one who benefited from these talks is Iran. In fact they didn't give anything but they got a lot," Netanyahu said during a meeting with visiting Peruvian President Ollanta Humala, according to a joint statement.

" Iran is continuing its aggressive behaviour: arming terrorist groups, supporting the massacre of his own people by the Assad regime (in Syria), calling for the destruction of Israel and subversive activities all over the world, including Latin America."

Israel and the West have long suspected Iran of covertly pursuing a nuclear weapons capability alongside its civilian programme -- charges denied by Tehran.

The United States and Israel -- which is the sole if undeclared nuclear-armed state in the region and views Iran as its greatest strategic threat -- have not ruled out military action to prevent Tehran from acquiring an atomic bomb.

Iran's top decision-maker Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has also expressed scepticism about the talks, and on Monday said they would "lead nowhere."

"I repeat it again that I am not optimistic about the negotiations and they will lead nowhere, but I am not against them," Khamenei said in remarks published on his website Khamenei.ir.

 
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Summary

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that Iran is the only beneficiary of nuclear talks with world powers and accused Tehran of "continuing its aggressive behaviour".

His remarks came on the eve of fresh talks between Iran and the P5+1 group -- Britain, France, the United States, China and Russia plus Germany -- aimed at reaching a comprehensive accord on Tehran's controversial nuclear programme.

Israel was highly critical of an interim deal reached in November under which Iran agreed to freeze or scale back its nuclear activities for a six-month period in exchange for limited sanctions relief.


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