Netanyahu in plenum, 25.5.10
Netanyahu in plenum, 25.5.10Israel news photo: Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu broke his silence Tuesday regarding Iran's enriched uranium deal with Turkey, calling it “an act of deception.” Until this statement, the Israeli government had offered no official comment on the deal, apparently preferring to let other countries react to it first.

Iran announced last week it would ship its nuclear reactors’ low-grade uranium to Turkey, which in return will give Tehran fuel rods of medium-enriched uranium for a "medical research reactor." The deal was also signed by Brazil.

Speaking before the Knesset plenum in a special session convened at the request of 40 Knesset members, Netanyahu said: “This is transparently an Iranian act of deception that is meant to divert international opinion from the sanctions against Iran in the [United Nations] Security Council.”

The deal between Iran, Turkey and Brazil is “a bogus suggestion,” he said, “because it leaves Iran with enough uranium to manufacture nuclear weapons.”

“It is commendable that the United States has decided to move forward in pushing through sanctions,” said the Israeli head of state. “This is an important move in a symbolic sense, but it is clear to us that these sanctions will not stop Iran. Harsher sanctions will make clearer the determination to prevent Iran's arming with nuclear weapons, but it is not certain that even they will stop it.”

Regarding indirect negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, which began recently and are to last four months, Netanyahu said: “The primary and most important principle, which I am glad that the United States adopted and made clear to the Palestinian Authority, is that there are no preconditions. This should not prevent the discussions from taking place.”

"The second principle that we and the United States agree about – and I would like to hope that the Palestinians understand this too – is that the proximity talks are the initial stage and a short corridor to direct talks.”