ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Iran and world powers trying to curb that nation's nuclear progress are coming to the negotiating table this week with the window shrinking on diplomacy. Tehran is moving closer to the ability to make atomic arms, and that risks the threat of Mideast conflict.
Israel says the Islamic Republic is only a few months away from the threshold of having material to turn into a bomb and has vowed to use all means to prevent it from reaching that point. The United States has not said what its "red line" is, but has said it will not tolerate an Iran armed with nuclear weapons.
Any strike on Iran would provoke fierce retaliation directly from Iran and through its Middle East proxies in Syria, Lebanon and Palestine, raising the specter of a larger conflict. The stakes are clearly high for negotiators from six nations meeting their Iranian counterparts in the Kazakh commercial capital, Almaty, today and Saturday.
While not mentioning the use of force, the United States and Israel both warned Iran ahead of that meeting that they would not allow it to acquire nuclear arms.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Iran is a model of a country that is "talking but at the same time developing nuclear weapons . . . I think that model certainly can't be allowed to happen in the case of Iran," he said after meeting with Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Eide.
In Washington, a senior administration official urged Tehran to meet demands from the six powers that it scale back on uranium enrichment, citing President Barack Obama as saying that "all options remain on the table" to prevent Iran from having such arms. -- AP