Israeli Leaders Join Chorus of Opposition to Iran Nuclear Deal
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu led calls from Israel condemning the deal struck between world powers and Iran on Tuesday over its nuclear activity.
The P5+1 group, including the U.S., Russia, China, U.K., France, and Germany, agreed that in return for the lifting of international economic sanctions against Iran, Tehran will limit its nuclear activity and agree to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Netanyahu, who has for years stressed the importance of not signing a “bad deal” with Iran, criticized the agreement as a “stunning historic mistake” in a televised statement. The Prime Minister said he fears the deal will enable Iran to produce a nuclear weapon, even by sticking to the terms of the deal itself.
Many of the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program only apply for 10-15 years, after which their enrichment and other activities become unrestrained, although checks on their activity will remain.
Israel’s premier also aired fears about Iran’s ability to expand its destabilizing influence on the region, with the release of an estimated one hundred billions dollars of assets, which will soon be at the regime’s disposal. “We will always defend ourselves,” he added, signalling that Israel does not see itself as party to the agreement.
Elsewhere, a spokesperson for the Israeli Defense Ministry called the deal “a victory through lies and deception.”
“We are committed to preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, and if necessary, we will know how to protect ourselves,” the statement read.
Israeli opposition leader, Zionist Union Chairman Isaac Herzog, said he would “act to ensure that the U.S. would answer Israel’s immediate security needs, not only its future fears.”
Herzog announced that after consulting Netanyahu, he will fly to the U.S. to push for greater security assistance in light of the new reality, but he added that he has “full confidence in the strength of Israeli society to confront and overcome any challenge and danger in its path.”
In the U.S., thanks to a bill passed earlier in the year, Congress will be able to vote in favor or against the deal within 60 days. However, Obama has already announced his intention to veto any attempt to block the agreement from being enforced.
Defending the agreement, President Barack Obama said that it ensures that “every pathway to a nuclear weapon is cut off” for Iran. He touted the verification guarantees as proof that the agreement is not built on trust of the Iranian regime, which still actively preaches for the destruction of the West.
Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett slammed those verification terms, which reportedly give Iran 24 days notice before an inspection of their facilities, and do not include live cameras to be set up inside the nuclear sites.Criticism of the agreement is not only coming from Israel. Negative reactions have been noted from within Arab states and the U.S. itself, with Republican figures expressing the strongest public condemnations so far.
Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, John Boehner, said “Instead of stopping the spread of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, this deal is likely to fuel a nuclear arms race around the world.”
Republican Presidential candidates also reacted with dismay to the terms agreed by Secretary of State John Kerry, with front-runner Jeb Bush calling the agreement “appeasement.”
The UN Security Council will vote to ratify the agreement in around a week, when details regarding sanctions relief, among other issues, will come to light.