By Rebecca Shabad – 11/23/14 10:50 AM EST
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the United States in an interview Sunday not to agree to any deal that could potentially allow Iran to produce a nuclear weapon.
“If, for any reason, the United States and the other powers agree to leave Iran with that capacity to break out, I think that would be a historic mistake,” Netanyahu said on ABC’s “This Week.”
Such a deal, he added, would endanger Israel, the Middle East and the rest of the world.
Breakout capacity is the time it would take to produce enough highly enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon.
The deadline for the permanent five members of the United Nations Security Council — the U.S., Great Britain, Russia, France and China, plus Germany — to reach a deal with Iran is Monday.
Netanyahu, who spoke to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry by phone Saturday about the status of the nuclear talks, said he could not predict if an agreement will be reached.
“I think it’s important that there won’t be a bad deal. A bad deal would enable Iran to remain with thousands of centrifuges which it could use to enrich uranium, which is what you need for a nuclear bomb. It could do so in a very short time,” he said.
Netanyahu urged the U.S. and world partners not to dismantle sanctions that are still in place against Iran, and even said that the sanctions should be toughened.
Since an interim nuclear deal was struck with Iran about a year ago, Netanyahu said Iran has used the time to “develop other elements of their [nuclear] program.”
“It’s true that they haven’t raised the enrichment to the 20 percent level and beyond, but they have done other things and they’re doing things we don’t know about,” he said.
President Obama, meanwhile, said in an interview that aired Sunday on ABC that gaps that remain in the negotiations are “significant.” His interview was recorded on Friday, and Kerry echoed that statement as he briefed reporters on the status of the talks on Saturday.
With the deadline just a day away, it’s appearing more likely there could be another extension in the talks. They were already first extended after negotiators failed to reach a deal by their initial deadline in July.