Opening a week that could see the U.S. cave against Iran at nuclear negotiations, French President Francois Hollande flew to Israel on Sunday to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
France has emerged as the principled party in negotiations, taking a stand against other Western powers including the U.S. at talks earlier this month.
Hollande said four conditions would have to be met in order to support an agreement with Iran. “The first demand: put all the Iranian nuclear installations under international supervision, right now. Second point: suspend enrichment to 20 percent. Thirdly: to reduce the existing stock,” he said at a press conference with Netanyahu. “And finally, to halt construction of the Arak (heavy water) plant. These are the points which for us are essential to guarantee any agreement.”
The friendly body language between Netanyahu and Hollande, as opposed to the coolness between Obama and Netanyahu, said it all, but Bibi still took time to laud Paris’ friendship.
“We understand exactly when somebody says that they’re out to destroy you, we’ve learned in our Jewish history to take them seriously. And I think from humanity’s point of view, there should be another lesson. When somebody starts by attacking the Jews, they generally don’t end there, and the fire soon catches and burns many lands,” Netanyahu said.
He noted that Hollande was “visibly moved” by their visit to Yad Vashem.
“François, I want to tell you the burder it places on me, as the Prime Minister of Israel. It is my duty to prevent anyone from credibly threatening or executing another holocaust against the Jewish people. This is my obligation, but I also believe it’s our common obligation for the sake of mankind, for the sake of our common future,” Netanyahu continued.
“At the welcoming ceremony at Ben Gurion Airport, you said that it is better to be right and in the minority, than to be wrong with a majority. Well, I couldn’t agree with you more. The deal that is being put on the table in Geneva is not a good deal. I believe it’s a bad deal and a dangerous one. I applaud the fact that you, personally, have taken a stance to make it tougher and firmer, but I‘m concerned, gravely concerned that this deal will go through and in one stroke of the pen it will reduce the sanctions on Iran, sanctions that took years to put in place. And in return for this Iran gives practically nothing.”
Netanyahu stressed “this deal is not merely a bad deal.”
“Look how eager, just look how eager the Iranians are, how eager they are to return to Geneva and sign the deal. Now they said that they will not demand that the agreement include a specific reference to their so-called right to enrich, their already backing off of that, predictably. They know, everyone knows, that the agreement enables them to continue enrichment, so they say, we already have the right to enrich in practice,” he said. “…Iran’s dream deal is the world’s nightmare.”
Netanyahu said he’s confident that France shares the goal of protecting the Jewish state from Iranian nukes.
“I know that you share this goal. You said so clearly, words spoken from the heart. They are sincere and real. Your support, your friendship is real. It’s sincere. You’re one out of six, but you are… You said correctly that in critical times it’s important to stand up for what is right. You have done that and I appreciate that,” he said, with a reference to the P5+1 engaging in talks with Iran.
“I know that we are going into… we are in hectic times and I trust the friendship, the sincerity, the warmth of our relationship, not merely to sustain the bond between our peoples, of that I have no doubt, no doubt whatsoever. But also to be a bastion of stability and common sense in the turbulent times that afflict us, and an anchor that can help us protect our peoples and our common civilization for better times.”