'Peace is possible.' Barak
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Nuclear talks in Vienna
Photo: AP
Barak: Deal will legitimize Iran's uranium enrichment
At presidential conference in Jerusalem, defense minister says Iranian uranium enrichment 'must be stopped altogether.' Livni: Establishment of Palestinian state only way of preserving Israel's Jewish character

If finalized, the draft agreement between the world powers and Iran will legitimize the Islamic Republic's uranium enrichment activities , Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Thursday.


The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Thursday presented the draft deal, according to which Iran would send enriched uranium abroad for further processing, to Iran and three big powers for approval by Friday. It would cut Iran's quantity of low-enriched uranium (LEU) below the threshold that could yield a nuclear weapon if it were refined to high purity, while providing Iran with fuel for a nuclear medicine facility.


Speaking at the presidential conference "Facing Tomorrow" in Jerusalem, Barak called on the international community to give Iran a deadline for halting its nuclear program and impose additional sanctions against Tehran


"This deal will (take Iran's nuclear program) back a year, but it will also result in the legitimization of its uranium enrichment for civilian purposes. The uranium enrichment by Iran must be stopped altogether," said the defense minister.


Barak also warned elements in the Middle East that are contributing to Hezbollah's rearmament. "The rockets in Lebanon are weapons that are meant to be used only as part of terror activity against civilians," he said.


Turning his attention to the Mideast peace process, the Labor party chairman said, "Peace is obtainable, and if we act right we will achieve it."


'No brave decisions'

Interior Minister Eli Yishai of Shas blamed the Palestinians for the stalemate in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. "The problem of the diplomatic process is not the Israeli government. Unfortunately, the other side (Palestinians) lacks the ability to make brave decisions. (Former Prime Minister Ehud) Olmert agreed to nearly everything they asked for and still no agreement was reached."


Opposition chairman Tzipi Livni told the conference that the "only way to preserve the character of the Jewish state is to build two states for two peoples," adding that if a Palestinian state is not established, "there will be one state between the sea and Jordan, which will not be a Jewish state, and will not have the characteristics of the Jewish people."


The presidential conference was launched on Tuesday with a greeting from US President Barack Obama, who emphasized that the friendship between Washington and Jerusalem is a "bond that is much more than a strategic alliance."


"The American people and the Israeli people share a faith in the future, a belief that democracies can shape their own destiny and that opportunities should be available to all," stated Obama.


Reuters contributed to the report 


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