Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not held back in voicing his grave concerns with the nuclear agreement reached with Iran, which was announced by the Obama administration Tuesday.
Even as the structure of the agreement was taking shape, Netanyahu saw it as a threat to the security of Israel and the region. In an address before a joint session of Congress in March, Netanyahu said the proposed agreement “doesn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb, it paves Iran’s path to the bomb.”
Now that the actual agreement has been reached, the Israeli Prime Minister’s concerns have only been heightened.
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In an interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt, the prime minister said he told President Obama in a phone call on Tuesday that the agreement “poses a great danger to Israel, and I believe it poses a great danger to America and the world.”
Obama reportedly told him that the deal “will verifiably prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon while ensuring the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program going forward.”
The Israeli leader listed three troubling aspects of the agreement to Holt:
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- It lifts economic sanctions against the rogue regime.
- It keeps Iran’s nuclear infrastructure in place.
- It gives Iran 24 days to respond to any inspection of facilities by the U.N.
Netanyahu explained: “When you let the number one terrorist regime in the world have a sure path to the bomb and hundreds of billions of dollars to finance its terrorism around the world, that’s not good for any of us.”
Regarding inspections, he added: “Can you imagine giving a drug dealer 24 days’ notice before you inspect the premises? That’s a lot of time to flush a lot of meth down the toilet.”
Netanyahu said a good deal would have linked Iran’s conduct with the lifting of sanctions. “There is no linkage to Iran’s change of behavior,” he said. “They can continue their regional aggression, their terrorism worldwide, subversion in so many countries, in so many lands. In fact they’re going to get 100s of billions of dollars to fuel their terror and military machine, and they don’t have to change anything. They are even going to get their arms embargo lifted in a few years.”
He also pointed out that “Iran is building intercontinental ballistic missiles, not to reach us, they already have those missiles, but to reach the United States. The Supreme Leader of Iran said the battle will continue with the United States even after the deal. For them, we’re the little satan, you are the great satan.”
He observed that “just five days ago, the so-called moderate president of Iran was at a rally in Tehran where they burnt American flags and chanted death to America.”
Israel’s Labor Party leader and fierce critic of the prime minister, Isaac Herzog, stands with him concerning the agreement. “I had a meeting yesterday where I learned about the deal and I think it is bad for Israel. [Netanyahu and myself] will certainly cooperate when it comes to the security of Israel. As an Israeli patriot, this deal is dangerous,” the Times of Israel reports him saying.
NBC News noted that Netanyahu’s wariness about the deal is also “shared by the Arab world, where countries expressed skepticism that a deal would really prevent Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon, and voiced fears that Iran would only gain more in the region without economic sanctions.”
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“It doesn’t happen very often in history, but when Arabs and Israelis agree, it’s worth paying attention,” Netanyahu told Holt. “Iran is different. It’s a zealot country,” he said. “It is governed by a group that believes in militant Islamic fundamentalism. It’s killed a lot of Americans. It’s killing everybody in sight in the Middle East.”
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