Israel Remains Wary as Iran Nuclear Talks Resume

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Western powers resumed their talks with Iran Wednesday over its nuclear program. Israelis are concerned that an agreement will allow Iran to get a nuclear bomb, but recently Israel found an unexpected ally -- France.

Israel got a boost this week during a three-day state visit by French President Francois Hollande.

France stopped the last round of talks in Geneva when it refused Iran's terms. In a speech to Israel's parliament, Hollande said he would hold the line on sanctions.

"It's now for Iran to respond, not just with words, but with concrete measures that are verifiable," Hollande said. "And I affirm here that sanctions will be maintained until Iran has definitely removed its nuclear weapons program."

Hollande's speech was good news for Israeli leaders, who feel an interim agreement would let Iran off the sanctions hook.

"This is one of our concerns -- that this interim agreement is so good for Iran and so convenient for the Iranians," Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs Yuval Steinitz said. "They are giving entirely nothing and getting a lot of reductions on the sanctions and legitimization as the threshold nuclear country."

During a visit to Israel this month, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann told CBN News it's the wrong time to go easy on Iran.

"This is the most frightening nightmare of all that we are dealing with in foreign policy," Bachmann said.

"Just when economic sanctions are really working," she continued. "We've got Iran exactly where they're about to have their back broken. They're down on their knees and just when they're down on their knees, the Obama administration wants to pull all the pressure back and they want to give Iran the space they need in addition to the luxury of time to finish their project of developing a nuclear weapon."

Bachmann said Iran's nuclear program and its supreme leader, Ali Ayatollah Khamenei, threaten both Israel and the West.

"Khamenei will not only use a nuclear weapon against Israel, they will use it against any other Western civilization," she said. "They will use it against Europe. They will use a nuclear weapon against the United States of America. Don't think for a moment they won't. They will. They seek the elimination of the United States just as surely as they seek the elimination of the Jewish State of Israel."

But Israel is not the only concerned country in the region. The Gulf States just across the Persian Gulf -- and especially Saudi Arabia -- see Iran as Israel does.

"I think the evidence is undeniable that the Israeli and Saudi positions vis-à-vis Iran and the need to prevent a nuclear Iran and the deep concerns regarding the current direction of events in Geneva and the negotiations [are the same]," Middle East analyst Jonathan Spyer told CBN News. "The evidence of that is unmistakable. Israel and Saudi Arabia are on the same page vis-à-vis Iran."

In the meantime, Israel is campaigning against any agreement that would allow Iran to get a nuclear bomb. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be in Moscow this week to lobby Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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CBN News
Chris Mitchell

Chris Mitchell

CBN News Middle East Bureau Chief

In a time where the world's attention is riveted on events in the Middle East, CBN viewers have come to appreciate Chris Mitchell's timely reports from this explosive region of the world. Mitchell brings a Biblical and prophetic perspective to these daily news events that shape our world.