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Israel goes ‘nuclear’ over Iran deal

Israel says the accord reached between world powers and Iran is a bad deal

Published: Updated:

Israel slammed on Sunday the breakthrough deal struck between Tehran and world powers in Geneva to curb Iran’s nuclear drive saying it was a “bad deal” as Tehran had obtained “what it wanted.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said: “This is a bad agreement that gives Iran what it wanted: the partial lifting of sanctions while maintaining an essential part of its nuclear program,” according to Agence France-Presse.

“The agreement allows Iran to continue to enrich uranium, leaves the centrifuges in place and allows it to produce fissile material for a nuclear weapon,” added the statement.

Israel also stated that the accord did not make compulsory the dismantling of the Arak plant, the heavy water reactor being built 240 kilometers southwest of Tehran.

“Economic pressure on Iran could have produced a much better agreement that would have led to a dismantling of Iran’s nuclear capacities.”

Speaking to Israeli locall radio, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said the Geneva deal was Iran's greatest diplomatic victory and required the Netanyahu government to conduct a strategic review.

This agreement is the greatest diplomatic victory of Iran, which has gained recognition for its so-called legitimate right to enrich uranium,” Lieberman was quoted as saying by AFP.

Israel’s Economy Minister Naftali Bennet said that Israel was not bound to the agreement that was signed between the world powers and Tehran.

“Israel is not engaged by the Geneva accord,” Bennett, the leader of a far-right party, told a military radio station according to AFP.

“Iran is threatening Israel and Israel has the right to defend itself.”

Shortly after the deal was reached in Geneva, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the agreement will help “make Israel safer.”

“This first step, I want to emphasize, actually rolls back the program from where it is today, enlarges the breakout time, which would not have occurred unless this agreement existed. It will make our partners in the region safer. It will make our ally Israel safer,” Kerry was quoted as saying by AFP.

Kerry also said Netanyahu - “a friend of mine” - had been kept well-informed of the talks, which kicked off on Wednesday.

“I talk to him several times a week,” he said. “I talked to him in the last day about this very issue.”

Any differences between the United States and Israel on the issue were simply a matter of “judgment” and “calculation,” Kerry insisted.

“There is no difference whatsoever between the U.S. and Israel of what the end goal is - that Iran will not have a nuclear weapon,” he added.

European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton, who chaired the negotiations in Geneva, said Israeli concerns were well understood.

“We talk all the time to Israel. Israel is an extremely important country, and its views are very important to us, and we believe that the security of the people of the region and indeed, you might say, of the world, is addressed best when we can find diplomatic solutions to problems and comprehensive agreements that address concerns,” Ashton told AFP.

Israel has expressed repeated skepticism over the nuclear talks in Geneva that have been taking place over the last weeks. Along with the West, it believes Tehran’s nuclear program is aimed at producing atomic weapons.

(With AFP)