During their meeting in Rome last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proposed to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that Iran be permitted to purchase nuclear fuel rods from a third country, which would ensure that Iran's nuclear program could produce only electricity, and not weapons.
"In Israel's view, there is only one fair agreement that can be reached with Iran -- that Tehran won't have the capability to enrich uranium," Netanyahu told Kerry. "We won't be able to accept something else and this is critical," Netanyahu added.
"Iran continues to enrich uranium while it negotiates with the West," Netanyahu said, noting that this is reason enough for sanctions on Iran to be increased. "The arming of Iran with a nuclear weapon will change the Middle East and the world for the worse. It is something that all countries that seek peace and stability must oppose."
On Sunday, Netanyahu briefed government ministers on his talks with Kerry.
"We are not impressed by the discussion surrounding the issue of 20 percent enrichment," Netanyahu said at the start of Sunday's cabinet meeting. "The Iranians are intentionally focusing the discussion on this issue. It is without importance. Its importance is superfluous as a result of the improvements the Iranians have made in the past year which allow them to jump over the barrier of 20% enrichment and proceed directly from 3.5% enrichment to 90% within weeks at most."
"Therefore, there is no significance to the discussion about 20% which Iran seemingly will not give in on. It is willing to give in on this. It has no importance; it is a tactical move. In effect, Iran, which has violated all Security Council decisions on preventing it from enrichment at any level, has no right to enrich. This enrichment has only one purpose, not for nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, but producing nuclear weapons. Thus it is with its heavy water reactor. It has no connection with energy for peace but only for nuclear weapons."
"And therefore, the clear position that I outlined there during and after the discussions, and to the media, which we are presenting around the world is that Iran must dismantle its enrichment ability and its heavy water reactor as part of the process of preventing it from achieving nuclear weapons."
"I have been asked if I am concerned about standing alone in an isolated position against the world. First of all, the answer is no. This is vital and important for the security of Israel and, in my view, the peace of the world. Then certainly we are willing to stand alone in the face of world opinion or changing fashion. But in fact we are not alone because most, if not all, leaders, those with whom I have spoken, agree with us. There are those who say so fully and there are those who whisper and there are those who say so privately. But everyone understands that Iran cannot be allowed to retain the ability to be within reach of nuclear weapons."
Meanwhile, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the head of the Iranian parliament's national security and foreign policy committee, said on Sunday that Iran would never agree to shut down the nuclear facility at Fordo.
“It is possible that they [world powers] set some conditions such as shutting down Fordo, which definitely will not happen,” the Iranian news agency Mehr quoted Boroujerdi as saying.
Even as nuclear negotiations with world powers continue, an anti-America competition, called "Death to America," was launched in Tehran. A 100 million rial (around $4,000) prize was promised to the "biggest hater of America" who expressed those feelings via a slogan, cartoon or poster.
At the same time, Iranian media reported on Sunday night that orders had been issued to take down anti-American signs in Tehran.