Top News: With talks between Iran and the West set to resume Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stepped up his effort to scuttle a deal that would trade sanctions relief for restricitons on Iran's nuclear program, telling CNN that "an exceedingly bad deal" had emerged from talks in Geneva.
Netanyahu has aggressively lobbied against the latest round of nuclear negotiations between Iran and a coalition of Western countries, but the potential that negotiations in Geneva might actually produce an agreement has only intensified that effort to scuttle a process that Israel sees as emboldening its regional adversary and allowing the country to continue its nuclear program by covert means. "I think a lot is being offered by the P5 + 1 for Iran," Netanyahu said. "It's getting just an enormous deal, from their point of view, and it's giving practically nothing in return. They're keeping their infrastructure to make nuclear bombs."
Additionally intensifying the run-up to the talks, Yaakov Amidror, a former Israeli national security adviser and a Netanyahu confidante until he stepped down last month, told the Financial Times that Israel is prepared to launch a unilateral strike to attempt to disable Iran's nuclear program, claiming that Israel could halt that program "for a very long time." To prepare for such a mission, Amidror told the FT that Israel has been practicing "very long-range flights ... all around the world."
"We don't need permission from anyone -- we are an independent state," Amidror said. "We have our own sovereignty. If Israel is in a position in which Israel must defend itself, Israel will do it." Military experts have long doubted that Israel has the know-how or weaponry to carry out such a strike without the assistance of the United States, but Amidror's comments come at a delicate time as the Obama administration seeks to both secure a nuclear deal with Iran while at the same time protecting its flanks both among its allies abroad and its enemies in Congress.
While paying a visit to Netanyahu in Israel, French President Francois Hollande pledged to keep up the pressure on Iran in negotiations.
Chile: Michelle Bachelet won the most votes, beating her closest rival by a nearly two-to-one margin, in Sunday's presidential election in Chile but failed to secure the outright majority to avoid a run-off.
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