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Rouhani to the West: Ignore Israel, Sign a Deal

Iran's President says Israel is only looking out for its own interests when it warns against a deal over his country's nuclear program.
By Elad Benari, Canada
First Publish: 11/22/2013, 8:31 PM

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani
Iranian president Hassan Rouhani
Reuters

As world powers and Iran continued talks in Geneva in hopes of reaching a deal about Iran’s nuclear program, Iran’s president on Friday called on the West to ignore Israel and reach a deal with his country.

"The world powers should reach an independent decision that is disconnected from Israel’s position," President Hassan Rouhani tweeted.

"Israel is only concerned about its own interests, and it does not think about the interests of the world,” he charged.

Israel has repeatedly stressed that the proposed agreement is a “bad deal,” leading to tension with the United States. In fact, the latest report on the tension between the U.S. and Israel has quoted a top White House official as having declared that Israel’s proposal that Iran totally dismantle its nuclear capacity would likely lead to war.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu declared once again that Iran must not obtain nuclear weapons and that Israel will not allow it to do so.

Rouhani’s comments Friday came as Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrived in Geneva, becoming the first foreign minister representing the so-called P5+1 to arrive in Geneva to try to clinch a deal.

The first day of the latest round of the talks ended with no progress, though both sides stressed that the talks had been detailed, serious and constructive.

Meanwhile on Friday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif insisted once again that any agreement with his country should include recognition of Iran’s right to enrich uranium.

“Our right to enrichment is our red line. The enrichment program that Iran has, will continue.... Any agreement should include enrichment program for Iran. We will not accept anything else other than that,” he told Press TV following a meeting with EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton.

Zarif added that Tehran wants to “make sure that our right to peaceful use of nuclear energy, including enrichment, is respected,” adding, “That’s a right that we have. That’s a right that is considered as an inalienable right.”

He predicted that an agreement could be reached within hours, saying, “We believe that it is possible, in the course of even hours, to reach an agreement. And I think we can make progress. I’m not pessimistic about it.”

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)