Sunday, April 15, 2012

Israel, US Show Skepticism on Iran Nuclear Talks

ISTANBUL—Renewed negotiations between Iran and international powers over Tehran's nuclear program this weekend already are facing fire from Israel and American lawmakers, who fear the Islamic Republic is seeking to use the revived diplomatic track to forestall additional economic sanctions while continuing to advance its nuclear work.

This skepticism toward the talks, which will go into a second round on May 23 in Baghdad, illustrates the tight political space U.S. President Barack Obama and his diplomatic partners face as they seek to peacefully end the standoff over Iran's nuclear program, which has fueled higher global energy prices and sparked fears of war.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government has continued to threaten to take military action against Iran's nuclear sites if diplomacy appears futile.

And leading U.S. lawmakers on Sunday again pledged to enact new economic sanctions on Tehran if it doesn't immediately abide by United Nations resolutions calling for it to freeze its production of nuclear fuel.

"My initial impression is that Iran has been given a 'freebie' " Mr. Netanyahu said on Sunday. "It has got five weeks to continue enrichment without any limitation, any inhibition." Read More