Nuclear talks: Israel demands equality

TEL AVIV (Rooters agency) – The Israeli government yesterday demanded that it receive “equal treatment” to that in any agreement between Iran and the “P5+1” concerning Iran’s nuclear program.

“We do not yet know the details of any likely agreement,” said an Israeli government spokesperson. “But if Iran is allowed, say, 6000 centrifuges for uranium enrichment, we also deserve the right to have 6000.

“If Iran is allowed to stockpile several hundred kilograms of low-enriched uranium, we surely must be entitled to stockpile an equal quantity.

“And Israel will not accept restrictions on its production of highly enriched uranium that are any more stringent than those agreed to by Iran.”

Sources in the Israeli government say that the Cabinet was at first divided over how to uphold Israel’s rights if the Iranian negotiations result in an agreement. However, Prime Minister Bud Nottonyernelly eventually won support for his argument that Israel had to insist on strict equality with Iran or risk being marginalized or even excluded from regional diplomacy or wars.

Equal treatment, the sources made clear, will include the right to have “thorough inspections of everything nuclear in Israel” by the International Atomic Energy Agency. PM Nottonyernelly was said to have persuaded the Cabinet that this was the only way to “prevent the Iranians from pretending to be more peaceful than we are.”

In Washington, the government appeared to have been taken by surprise by the Israeli declaration. White House Press Secretary Jed Lee Earnest admitted it was “unexpected” and added that “it might be difficult for the IAEA to check Israeli compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, since Israel hasn’t signed it.”

A possible further complication is that US agreement with the new Israeli position might lead the Iranian President to demand an invitation to explain to Congress why the Israeli government can’t be trusted.

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