x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Israel sceptical of Iran deal as nuclear talks resume

Israel's defence minister said Iran's preliminary agreement to open its nuclear facilities to UN inspectors does not rule out a possible Israeli military strike.

JERUSALEM // Israel's defence minister said Iran's preliminary agreement to open its nuclear facilities to UN inspectors does not rule out a possible Israeli military strike, as talks in Baghdad between Tehran and six world powers begins.

Iran made a U-turn on the eve of the talks as negotiators from the P5+1 — the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany — sat down today with a team of Iranian diplomats to try to hammer out specific goals over Tehran's nuclear programme.

Ehud Barak said today that he is sceptical about the deal, which he calls an Iranian ploy to fend off international pressure, and Tehran buying time is a problem for Israel.

He told Israel Army Radio that a "nuclear Iran is intolerable and no options should be taken off the table." The phrase is Israel's oblique reference to the use of force.

In Baghdad, an Iranian adviser says the agreement to open its Parchin complex is a show of good faith that must be reciprocated in negotiations.

Hassan Abedini, an analyst being briefed by Iran's delegation, says Tehran expects the US and other world powers to offer some concessions. The US has been vague about its immediate goals from this round of talks.

Iran is demanding that the West outline timetables and steps ahead in gradually addressing international concerns over the Islamic Republic's nuclear ambitions.