Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly warned against world powers reaching a nuclear deal with arch-nemesis Iran. But after the deal was struck last week, it appears the world hasn’t been listening.
Now, the premier is trying a new approach, reportedly threatening to “kill himself” over the upcoming vote in the U.S. Congress on whether to accept the deal.
According to Haaretz newspaper, citing his spokespeople, Netanyahu made the threat in an attempt to leverage Israeli security, which he believes is threatened by Iran’s nuclear accord.
“Netanyahu’s spokespeople said he plans to ‘kill himself’ pursuing the last remaining option for scuttling the deal – preventing its ratification by the U.S. House of Representatives – by persuading Democratic congressmen to defect to the Republican camp and vote against their president,” Haaretz’s Yossi Verter reported earlier this week.
“The destruction and devastation he avoided inflicting on the nuclear facilities scattered throughout Iran, he now wants to wreck on what’s left of U.S.-Israel relations,” Verter added.
Netanyahu has long opposed any deal with Iran, and Israel has signaled it could take military action if need be to stop the Islamic republic from obtaining a nuclear weapons capability.
Following the accord last week, the premier referred to it as a “historic mistake for the world.”
"In every area where it was supposed to prevent Iran attaining nuclear arms capability, there were huge compromises," his office quoted him as saying at the start of a meeting with Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders.
He has taken his campaign to the U.S. Congress and the U.N. General Assembly but ultimately failed to block the deal.
"You can't prevent an agreement when those negotiating it are prepared to make more and more concessions to those shouting 'Death to the United States' even as the talks are in progress," Netanyahu said on Tuesday.
"Iran will get hundreds of billions of dollars with which it will be able to fuel its terror machine," he said, referring to the expected lifting of crippling Western sanctions on its oil and banking sectors.
Meanwhile, Israel's deputy foreign minister accused Western powers of surrendering to Iran.
"This deal is a historic surrender by the West to the axis of evil headed by Iran," Tzipi Hotovely said in a message on Twitter, the first reaction from a senior Israeli official to a deal. "Israel will act with all means to try and stop the agreement being ratified."
Tehran and the six powers have been holding marathon diplomatic negotiations at the ministerial level for more than two weeks to resolve a 12-year stand-off over Iran's nuclear program.
Under the deal, Iran and major powers agreed on a mechanism under which the U.N. nuclear watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency could get access to suspect nuclear sites in Iran within 24 days, the text of the Iran nuclear agreement said.
Iran will also be allowed to conduct research and development (R&D) with uranium for advanced centrifuges during the first 10 years of a nuclear agreement with major powers, according to the text of the deal posted on the Russian foreign ministry website.
"Iran will continue to conduct enrichment R&D in a manner that does not accumulate enriched uranium," the text of the agreement said.
The deal is also said to allow U.N. inspectors to press for visits to Iran’s military sites as part of their monitoring duties – a compromise between Washington and Tehran.
(With Reuters and AFP)