Jerusalem, May 20 – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Iran appears to be heading into talks with world powers this week to try and stall international sanctions aimed at stopping Iranian nuclear weapons development.
"Obviously, nothing would be better than to see this issue resolved diplomatically,” Netanyahu said. “But I have seen no evidence that Iran is serious about stopping its nuclear weapons program. It looks as though they see these talks as another opportunity to deceive and delay just like North Korea did for years.”
Talks are set for later this week in Bagdad between Iran and the P5+1 nations (the five permanent United Nations Security Council members and Germany). The talks may be a last chance for Iran before the imposition of additional sanctions against its oil exports, due to kick in on July 1.
The international community imposed increasingly harsh economic and trade sanctions on Iran since 2006 for its refusal to comply with four U.N. resolutions demanding it halt its uranium enrichment program and open its nuclear facilities to international inspectors.
The International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly suspected Iran of covertly developing nuclear weapons, and Iran refuses to allow IAEA inspectors into its top secret nuclear installations. North Korea is a key supplier of military technology to Iran. Like Iran, the North Koreans were under international sanctions and claimed their nuclear program was for peaceful purposes. They refused to allow IAEA inspections while they secretly developed a nuclear weapons arsenal.
A poll released last week showed opposition to Iran obtaining nuclear weapons is widespread around the world, including in Middle East countries Egypt, Jordan and Turkey, and support for tough economic sanctions against Iran is high, the Washington Post reported.