Diplomatic handshakes disguised the differences between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Secretary of State John Kerry when they met in Rome on Wednesday.
At a press conference following their seven-hour long discussions, it appeared that Iran’s nuclear programme continues to be a sticking point.
“Iran must not have a nuclear weapons capability,” explained Netanyahu. “This means that they shouldn’t have centrifuges for enrichment, they shouldn’t have a plutonium heavy water plant, which is used only for nuclear weapons. They should get rid of the amassed fissile material, and they shouldn’t have underground nuclear facilities. I think a partial deal that leaves Iran with these capabilities is a bad deal.”
Kerry sought to reassure Netanyahu, who fears neighbouring Iran’s development of nuclear weapons, that no sanctions would be lifted until Tehran provided evidence of their peaceful intentions.
“We have made clear and we are adamant that words are no substitute for actions. We will need to know that actions are being taken which make it crystal clear, undeniably clear, fail-safe to the world, that whatever programme pursued is indeed a peaceful programme.”
At the last round of nuclear talks with Western powers, Tehran appeared willing to cooperate, marking a change in direction, though no breakthroughs were made.
The next round of talks is scheduled for November 7-8 in Geneva.