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April 16, 2012 9:00 am

Israel Stresses “Immediate Steps” for Iran, Obama Urges Diplomacy Ahead of May Talks

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Barack Obama with Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office. Photo: Pete Souza.

Exposing a rift with Israel, U.S. President Barack Obama on Sunday insisted that the U.S. has not “given anything away” in recently renewed nuclear talks with Iran.

Obama said he believed there was still time for diplomacy. His assessment, delivered at the close of a Latin American summit in Colombia, came after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said the U.S. and world powers had given Tehran a “freebie” by agreeing to hold more talks next month.

Netanyahu said the decision to reconvene at a later date means Iran “has got five weeks to continue enrichment without any limitation, any inhibition.”

“I think Iran should take immediate steps,” Netanyahu said. “First, stop all enrichment, take out all enrichment material and dismantle the nuclear facility in Qom. I believe that the world’s greatest practitioner of terrorism must not have the opportunity to develop atomic bombs.”

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Obama said Iran has “got some of the toughest sanctions that they’re going to be facing coming up in just a few months if they don’t take advantage of these talks.”

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

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