Israel Slams Iran Nuclear Deal as 'Historic Mistake'

Grim Netanyahu Insists Not Bound by Pact

Bad Deal: Benjamin Netanyahu spoke out harshly against the nuclear deal with Iran.
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Bad Deal: Benjamin Netanyahu spoke out harshly against the nuclear deal with Iran.

By Reuters

Published November 24, 2013.
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“Israel is not committed by this agreement. The regime in Iran is committed to destroying Israel. And Israel has the right and the obligation to defend itself by itself from any threat,” Netanyahu said.

“I would like to make clear, as the prime minister of Israel: Israel will not allow Iran to develop a military nuclear capability.”

But Israeli Civil Defence Minister Gilad Erdan, a security cabinet member, said the deal “makes it much more difficult, in the diplomatic sphere, to talk about a military option”.

Tehran denies it is pursuing atomic weapons, saying its nuclear programme is a peaceful energy project.

Erdan told Army Radio that Israel would continue monitoring Iran’s activities and lobby for better terms in any final deal with Tehran.

“We have six months now, and there are significant improvements that can be made in these six months,” he said.

In Washington, a senior U.S. official said President Barack Obama would discuss Israel’s misgivings with Netanyahu on Sunday.

“Ultimately we understand and appreciate how Israel is particularly sceptical about Iran. Given the threats that have been made about Israel from Tehran we understand why Israel will want to make sure that this is the best deal possible,” the official said.

“I would say that what we have now is a six-month period to test whether the new leadership in Iran continues to follow through their commitment to move Iran on a new path. What we will know after six months is whether there can be a solution.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said the Geneva deal was Iran’s “greatest diplomatic triumph” since its 1979 Islamic revolution, and predicted an arms race could result among Sunni Arabs who also feel wary of the Persian Shi’ites.

The Netanyahu government has therefore to conducted a strategic review of its options, Lieberman told Israel Radio.

He played down any rift with the United States, which led the Geneva talks. Asked if he felt betrayed by Israel’s most important ally, Lieberman said: “Heaven forbid.”


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