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U.S. Senator: Iran Nuclear Deal Does Not Threaten Israel

A nuclear framework agreement reached between world powers and Iran does not threaten the survival of Israel, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein said on Sunday.

Feinstein, a leading Democratic voice on foreign affairs as vice chairman of the Senate select committee on intelligence, was responding to comments by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticizing the deal.

Netanyahu has rejected the framework agreement reached on Thursday, saying it risks Israel’s security and would make it easier for Iran to obtain an atomic bomb.

The U.S. State Department rejected a demand by Israel’s Cabinet that a final nuclear deal with Iran include “a clear and unambiguous Iranian recognition” of Israel’s right to exist.

“This is an agreement that is only about the nuclear issue,” said State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf on Friday night. “We have purposefully kept that separate from every other issue. That issue is complicated enough to deal with on its own.”

She added: “This is an agreement that doesn’t deal with any other issues, nor should it, and that’s what we’re focused on.”

Harf pointed out that the United States has worked to combat other issues on which Iran has a poor record, for example sanctioning Iran for its human rights record and for its support of terrorism.

“If you try to deal with every regional issue that we had problems with that Iran was doing, I’m not sure how long those negotiations would take, but the nuclear issue is tough enough as it is. But on those other issues, we have other ways of combating and countering that, whether it’s sanctions, whether it’s increasing security to our Gulf partners, whether – there’s a variety of ways we can do that,” she said.

Iranian officials have repeatedly called for Israel’s destruction.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama spoke Thursday by phone, during which Netanyahu told him: “This deal would pose a grave danger to the region and to the world and would threaten the very survival of the State of Israel.”

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