Jerusalem: Warning that Iranian nuclear programme is a challenge to the whole world, not just to it, Israel on Sunday asked the six-power group negotiating with Tehran to set stringent limits on its atomic ambitions.

"We see the Iranian nuclear military programme as challenge to the whole world, not just to Israel," Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak told.

Barak said the current sanctions and pressure will not bring the Iranian leadership to the conclusion that they have to stop their nuclear programme.

The US and EU have imposed a series of sanctions against Iran, targeting its oil and banking sector.

"If the P5+1 will settle for a much lower threshold, like just stop enriching 20 per cent, it means that basically the Iranians, at a very cheap cost, bought their way into continuing their military programme, slightly slower, but without sanctions. That would be a total change of direction for the world," Barak said.

His remarks came just ahead of the talks between with the so-called P5+1, comprising the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, and Iran in coming weeks.

The next round of comprehensive talks is set to take place on April 13-14, but the venue of the negotiations has not been decided yet.

The US officials believe that Iran has not yet taken a decision to develop a nuclear weapon. But Israel claims Iran is closer to make a bomb and it does not rule out staging a pre-emptive strike of its own on Iranian nuclear facilities.

Iran last held talks with the six powers - Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States in January 2011 with no results.

(Agencies)