Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed deep skepticism today of the Iranian regime’s intentions in nuclear negotiations, restating his opposition to Iran’s ability to enrich any uranium in a final deal.
That position puts Israel at odds with the United States, which has expressed a willingness to allow Iran to enrich a small amount of uranium for civilian purposes, with strict limits to ensure it does not reach a weapons-grade threshold.
“Unfortunately, the leading powers of the world are talking about leaving Iran with the capability to enrich uranium,” Netanyahu told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, referring to the P5+1 negotiations over Tehran’s nuclear intentions.
“I believe that letting Iran enrich uranium would open up the floodgates. It really would open up a Pandora’s box of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East and around the world,” he said.
He also suggested Iran’s leaders are not negotiating in good faith, despite what he calls the country’s “smiling president and its smooth- talking foreign minister.”
“But if you listen to their words, their soothing words, they don’t square with Iran’s aggressive actions,” he said.
On Middle East peace, Netanyahu said he was ready to make “a historic peace” with the Palestinians.
“Peace would be good for us. Peace would be good for the Palestinians. But peace would also open up the possibility of establishing formal ties between Israel and leading countries in the Arab world,” he said.
He thanked Secretary of State John Kerry for his work on both Iranian nuclear negotiations and the Israeli peace talks, calling him “the secretary who never sleeps.”
Netanyahu also alluded to actress Scarlett Johansson’s accidental foray into the Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israeli goods and services, when she endorsed the company SodaStream, whose products are made in the Palestinian West Bank.
“Everyone should know what the letters B-D-S really stand for: bigotry, dishonesty and shame. And those who oppose BDS, like Scarlett Johansson, they should be applauded.”
“Scarlett, I have one thing to say to you: Frankly, my dear, I DO give a damn,” Netanyahu continued, to applause.