- Forty-four US Republican and Democrat senators have written a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to stop talks with the Islamic Republic altogether unless Iran "agrees to take immediate steps to curb its uranium enrichment activity."
"Steps it [Iran] must take immediately are shutting down of the Fordow [nuclear] facility, freezing enrichment above five percent, and shipping all uranium enriched above five percent out of the country," the letter published on Saturday added.
- The US senators' letter is verbatim echo of the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's remarks in an address he made to the Civil Services Commission in Jerusalem (al-Quds) on May 21, just two days before the P5+1 sit down in Baghdad for talks with Iran.
Netanyahu said in his speech that "Israel would only be satisfied if Iran halted all uranium enrichment and shipped its stockpiles out of the country."
He added that Tehran must also close its underground Fordow nuclear facility at the city of Qom, south of the capital Tehran.
"This is the only way it will be possible to ensure that Iran does not get a nuclear bomb.... This is Israel's position. It has not changed, and it will not change," Netanyahu emphasized.
Referring to a third round of talks between Iran and the P 5+1-- the US, Britain, France, China, and Russia plus Germany --, scheduled for Moscow on June 18 and 19, the senators wrote, "Were Iran to agree to and verifiably implement these steps, this would demonstrate a level of commitment by Iran to the process and could justify continued discussions beyond the meeting in Moscow."
"On the other hand, if the sessions in Moscow produce no substantive agreement, we urge you to reevaluate the utility of further talks at this time and instead focus on significantly increasing the pressure on the Iranian government through sanctions and making clear that a credible military option exist," they added.
The senators also threatened that "the window for diplomacy is closing" on Iran.
Iranian officials have frequently said the country would never give up its inalienable right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy, including by mastering the full cycle of nuclear fuel and all its components such as enriching uranium to levels allowed for by the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
On Friday, June 15, Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili once more emphasized that Tehran expects its right to nuclear technology, including uranium enrichment, be recognized during the upcoming talks with the P5+1 in Moscow as that right is clearly defined by the NPT.
He added that Iran's nuclear activities are entirely under the control of the IAEA and the Islamic Republic is conducting its nuclear energy program in full compliance with the NPT.