JERUSALEM (AP) — Iran is seeking atomic weapons to destroy Israel and world powers should not make any concessions over its nuclear program, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday.
Netanyahu made the remarks as the head of the U.N nuclear watchdog was in Tehran on a key mission that could lead to the resumption of probes on whether Iran has secretly worked on a nuclear weapon.
Much of the West believe that Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons, a charge that Iran denies. Israel views a nuclear Iran as an existential threat due to frequent calls by Tehran for its destruction along with its support of violent anti-Israel groups and its long-range missile program.
"Iran wants to destroy Israel and it is developing nuclear weapons to fulfill that goal," Netanyahu said at a conference for civil servants. "Against this malicious intention, leading world powers need to display determination and not weakness. They should not make any concessions to Iran," he said.
Yukiya Amano, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, is on a one-day visit to Tehran that is focused on getting Iran to agree to terms that will allow IAEA inspections of suspect Iranian sites, including the Parchin military complex where the agency had reported suspicious activities in the past.
His visit comes ahead of talks on Wednesday in Baghdad between Iran and the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.
"They need to make clear and unequivocal demands that Iran stop all of its nuclear enrichment activity, remove from Iran all the material that has been enriched until now and dismantle the underground nuclear facility near the city Qom," Netanyahu said. "Only that way can it be ensured that Iran will not get an atomic bomb."
Tehran's uranium enrichment activities at its plant at Fordo, near the holy city of Qom, are of particular concern for Israel because it is dug into a mountain and possibly resistant to attack.