JERUSALEM: Terming the efforts of world powers to strike a nuclear deal with Iran as "dangerous", Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu today said it was "astonishing" that talks were on even after IAEA found that Tehran was hiding military components of its atomic programme.
A confidential document by the IAEA, distributed among its member states on Thursday, reportedly said that the Islamic Republic was continuing to withhold full cooperation in two areas of a long-running investigation by the UN watchdog that it had committed to presenting by August last year.
"Iran has not provided any explanations that enable the agency to clarify the outstanding practical measures," the IAEA reportedly said, referring to allegations of explosives tests and other activity that could be used to develop nuclear bombs.
Netanyahu, who has been at loggerheads with the US administration on the issue, said, "Not only are they continuing (the talks), there is an increased effort to reach a nuclear agreement in the coming days and weeks."
"Therefore, the coming month is critical for the nuclear talks between Iran and the major powers because a framework agreement is liable to be signed that will allow Iran to develop the nuclear capabilities that threaten our existence," the Israeli Premier asserted.
Arguing that the deal being formulated between Iran and P5+1 (permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany) was "dangerous" for Israel, the Israeli leader justified his address to the American Congress next week, an issue that has widened the rift between US President Barack Obama's administration and the Israeli Premier.
He said he will travel to Washington to explain why the deal is "dangerous to Israel, dangerous to the region and dangerous to the world."
"Therefore I will go to the US next week in order to explain to the American Congress, which could influence the fate of the agreement, why this agreement is dangerous for Israel, the region and the entire world," Netanyahu stressed.
The Israeli Premier's scheduled address has been widely condemned in the US with many democrats announcing to give it a pass.
The invite for the address is said to have been extended by the Republican dominated body without the knowledge of the White House.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif will be trying to narrow gaps in another round of nuclear talks today in Geneva.
The world powers have been pushing to meet a March 31 deadline for a political framework agreement.
Obama believed it was "imperative to be able to come to a fundamental political outline and agreement within the time space that we have left," Kerry earlier said.
"If that can't be done, it would be an indication that fundamental choices are not being made that is essential to doing that," the top US diplomat stressed emphasizing that Obama was prepared to halt the talks if he thought they were not being productive.