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Israel wants progress on Iran before peace talks

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel will not move forward with peace talks until the United States makes progress on stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, the Washington Post reported.

In an article published Wednesday, the newspaper quoted top Israeli officials about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s emerging policy.

"It’s a crucial condition if we want to move forward," Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon, a former ambassador to the United States, told the Post. "If we want to have a real political process with the Palestinians, then you can’t have the Iranians undermining and sabotaging."

President Obama has made quick progress on Palestinian statehood central to his foreign policy, the Post noted, and believes that progress in peace talks will lessen Iranian influence and weaken terrorist groups such as Hamas.

Three weeks ago, Netanyahu told The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg that he did not want the United States to link the two issues.

 “We intend to move on the Palestinian track independent of what happens with Iran," the Israeli leader said, "and I hope the U.S. moves to stop Iran from gaining nuclear weapons regardless of what happens on the Palestinian track.”

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