U.S. offering to ease sanctions on Iran, reports New York Times. Netanyahu warns this is an “historic mistake.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) shakes hands with US Secretary of State John Kerry during a meeting on November 6, 2013 in Jerusalem (AFP Photo/Jason Reed)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) shakes hands with US Secretary of State John Kerry during a meeting on November 6, 2013 in Jerusalem (AFP Photo/Jason Reed)

(Washington, D.C.) — In the negotiations between the U.S. and Iran over Iran’s nuclear program, it appears the Obama administration has just blinked.

“On the eve of a new round of talks between world powers and Iran, a senior Obama administration official said Wednesday that the United States was prepared to offer Iran limited relief from economic sanctions if Tehran agreed to halt its nuclear program temporarily and reversed part of it,” reports the New York Times. “The official said that the suspension of Iran’s nuclear efforts, perhaps for six months, would give negotiators time to pursue a comprehensive and far more challenging agreement.”

“Put simply, what we’re looking for now is a first phase, a first step, an initial understanding that stops Iran’s nuclear program from moving forward for the first time in decades and that potentially rolls part of it back,” the official told reporters.       

“The long-stymied talks with Iran were re-energized after Hassan Rouhani, the new Iranian president, took office in August and declared that he wanted to resolve longstanding concerns about the country’s nuclear program so that punishing economic sanctions could be lifted,” the Times noted.

Israel’s leader, however, made clear immediately he rejects such a deal.

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a conference in Jerusalem on Thursday that Israel completely rejects the proposal being discussed with Iran vis-à-vis its nuclear program in Geneva,” reports Haaretz.”It will be a historical mistake,” he said.

“A U.S. official in Geneva said Wednesday that the powers want Iran to halt its nuclear program for six months in exchange for temporary sanctions relief,” Haaretz noted. “Netanyahu said that accepting the compromise will allow Iran to continue developing its nuclear program.”

“The Geneva proposals are weakening the pressure on Iran. Iran’s concessions are non-concessions,” he said.

“Meanwhile, Iran’s deputy foreign minister said Thursday that stopping the enrichment of uranium was a red line that his country would not cross,” the Israeli newspaper reported. “Speaking in Geneva during a two-day round of nuclear talks, Abbas Araghchi said both sides agree there is an historic opportunity for Iran and the six world powers to reach an agreement, and that this would involve each side taking the first step together.

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