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November 17, 2013 12:13 pm

Netanyahu: West Can Reach ‘A Much Better Agreement’ With Iran

avatar by Zach Pontz

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Prime Minister Netanyahu at his government's weekly cabinet meeting. Photo: Screenshot.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated his position Sunday that Western powers can reach “a much better agreement” with Iran over its nuclear program.

“I hope that we will succeed in convincing our friends this week and in the days afterwards to achieve a much better agreement, and it will be possible to do so,” Netanyahu said at the start of his weekly Cabinet meeting.

“Iran is under economic pressure and continuing – and even increasing – this pressure will be able to achieve the much better result of a peaceful, diplomatic solution. I believe that many in the region and beyond it share this view.”

Netanyahu has been highly critical of Western powers, especially the United States, for a proposed deal with Iran that would have allowed the country, according to Israel, the possibility of crossing the nuclear threshold at a later date.

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will be visiting Israel in the coming days to discuss the issue, and Netanyahu made to ease tensions ahead of his visit, noting “John Kerry is an old friend and he is also a friend of Israel,” while offering the caveat that “It is the obligation of the Prime Minister of Israel and the Government of Israel to uphold our vital interests and thus we are doing vis-à-vis an agreement which is a bad agreement.”

Maariv reported Sunday that Israeli officials have accepted the possibility that a partial deal with Iran may be signed within the coming weeks. However, they say two clauses favorable to Israel’s stance could be added, namely the demand that Iran’s Arak heavy water reactor be kept shut and that any uranium enriched to over 20 percent be converted into fuel rods.

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