Last updated: 20 November, 2014

Israel warns against ‘bad’ Iran deal as deadline looms

Israel’s intelligence minister on Thursday pressed world powers not to sign a “bad” deal with Iran, as a deadline nears for an agreement on the Islamic republic’s controversial nuclear programme.

“Do not sign a bad deal with Iran that enables Iran to remain a threshold nuclear state,” Yuval Steinitz told reporters in Jerusalem.

He stressed Tehran must not be allowed to maintain a large number of its centrifuges, fearing it would develop the “capability to produce a nuclear weapon.”

Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany have been negotiating since February to turn an interim accord with Iran reached a year ago into a lasting agreement by November 24.

Such a deal, after a decade of rising tensions, is aimed at easing fears that Tehran will develop nuclear weapons under the guise of its civilian activities — an ambition Iran has always denied.

Steinitz stressed that “all options” remained on the table.

Israel has long threatened military action against Iran to stop it obtaining nuclear weapons capability, and it slammed world powers including its US ally over last year’s interim deal.