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Iran

Netanyahu calls on powers to demand change to Iran's 'genocidal' policy

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has demanded that world powers heap more pressure on Iran in negotiations to finalize a nuclear deal. This came as IAEA inspectors visited a key Iranian nuclear facility.

Prime Minister Netanyahu used a speech to a forum on Middle East policy in Washington on Sunday to demand that the US and five other world powers “beware” of Iran's intentions as they seek to finalize a nuclear deal on upcoming talks in Geneva.

"This is a regime committed to our destruction and I believe there must be an unequivocal demand alongside the negotiations in Geneva for a change in Iran policy," Netanyahu told the annual Saban Forum on the Middle East, hosted by the Brookings Institution think tank.

Speaking to the conference via video link from Jerusalem, Netanyahu added that any final accord with Tehran must bring about the "termination of Iran's military nuclear capability."

Netanyahu's speech came a day after US President Barack Obama used a speech to the same conference to try to reassure Israel over its security concerns. He also conceded that the preliminary accord reached with Iran last month was far from a done deal.

"If you ask me what is the likelihood that we're able to arrive at the end state … I wouldn't say that it's more than 50-50," Obama said. "But we have to try."

The interim agreement, which is valid for just six months, involves the relaxing of some economic sanctions on Tehran in return for concessions from Iran, including allowing increased access by the United Nations to the country's nuclear sites.

UN team visits plant

As part of this deal, inspectors from the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency visited the Arak heavy water production plant on Sunday. This was confirmed by a spokesman for Iran's nuclear organization. The inspectors were to fly back to the agency's headquarters later on Sunday. They have not yet commented on the inspection.

The six powers involved in the negotiations aimed at allaying the fears of the international community about Iran's intentions are the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - the US, Russia, China, Great Britain and France - plus Germany.

The US and its allies in particular fear Iran may be seeking to develop nuclear weapons. Tehran insists that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.

pfd/ph (AP, Reuters)