Any final nuclear deal with Iran must include a clear and unambiguous recognition by Tehran of Israel's right to exist, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday.
Netanyahu's comments came after a meeting of the security cabinet called to discuss the framework agreement agreed upon Thursday between the world powers and Iran in Lausanne. This was the first time he has called for an explicit recognition of Israel by Iran.
Netanyahu said that Israel would not accept an agreement that “allows a country that vows to annihilate us to develop nuclear weapons, period.”
In recent days senior Israeli officials have spoken openly about possible Israeli military action if need be to prevent Iran from getting a bomb.
“Iran is a regime that openly calls for Israel's destruction and openly and actively works towards that end.” he said. “Just two days ago, in the midst of the negotiations in Lausanne, the commander of the Basij security forces in Iran said this: The destruction of Israel is non-negotiable.' Well, I want to make clear to all. The survival of Israel is non-negotiable.
Netanyahu, while not threatening military action, said that the security cabinet is “united in strongly opposing the proposed deal.” He said it would pose a grave danger to the region, the world, and threaten Israel's survival.
Netanyahu said the deal “would not shut down a single nuclear facility in Iran, would not destroy a single centrifuge in Iran and will not stop R&D on Iran's advanced centrifuges. On the contrary. The deal would legitimize Iran's illegal nuclear program. It would leave Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure. A vast nuclear infrastructure remains in place.”
Furthermore, he said the deal would lift sanctions almost immediately, giving Iran a huge economic boost just as it is stepping up its terror and aggression in the region and elsewhere.
“In a few years, the deal would remove the restrictions on Iran's nuclear program, enabling Iran to have a massive enrichment capacity that it could use to produce many nuclear bombs within a matter of months,” he added.
Echoing comments he made to Congress last month and repeating what he said to US President Barack Obama during a conversation overnight, Netanyahu said this deal does not block Iran's path to a bomb, but rather paves it. In addition, he said, it may spark a nuclear arms race throughout the Middle East and increase the risks of “terrible war.”
Rejecting arguments made by Obama that the alternative to the deal is war, Obama said there is another alternative: “standing firm, increasing the pressure on Iran until a good deal is achieved.”
By Herb Keinon
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