At the beginning of the government's weekly meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
slammed the interim agreement reached Sunday between world powers and Iran
The agreement reached in Geneva is not a historic deal, but rather a historic mistake. It turns the world into a much scarier place, because now the world's most dangerous regime is taking significant steps towards acquiring the world's most dangerous weapon."
According to the prime minister "this is the first time the world's leading powers have agreed to uranium enrichment while ignoring Security Council resolution which they led and years worth of sanctions which contain the key to a peaceful diplomatic solution. These sanctions are now being removed in return for cosmetic concessions which can be undone by the Iranians within weeks."
Netanyahu continued, claiming that "this agreement's ramifications threaten a number of nations of which Israel
is one. Israel is not bound to this agreement while Iran is committed to the destruction of Israel. Israel has the right to protect itself in the face of any threat. I wish to reiterate that as the prime minister of Israel – Israel will not allow Iran to develop nuclear military capabilities."
Meanwhile Iranian President Hassan Rohani
said Sunday that Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers signaled an acceptance of uranium enrichment in Iran and that punitive sanctions were starting to crumble.
"Iran's right to uranium enrichment on its soil was accepted in this nuclear deal by world powers," he said in a speech broadcast live on state television. "The structure of the sanctions against Iran has begun to crack."
Acording to him, talks on a "comprehensive agreement will start immediately" and that Iran had a strong will for them to commence right away, adding that the "Iranian nation has never sought nuclear weapons."
The president also said the success of the talks so far was due to the "guidelines offered" by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Netanyahu vs. Rohani (Photo: AP) On his part, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Sunday the interim agreement was the basis for further progress, and the prayers of the Iranian nation had contributed towards its success.
"This can be the basis for further intelligent actions. Without a doubt the grace of God and the prayers of the Iranian nation were a factor in this success," Khamenei wrote in a letter to President Hassan Rohani published by the IRNA state news agency.
An agreement between Iran and major powers would make it harder for Iran to make a dash to build a nuclear weapon and would make Israel and other U.S. allies safer, US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday.
Speaking after the agreement was struck between Iran and six major powers, Kerry also said that while US President Barack Obama would not take off the table the possible use of force against Iran, he believed it was necessary first to exhaust diplomacy.
Addressing one of the most contentious issues in the 10-year nuclear standoff, Kerry said that the deal does not include any recognition of an Iranian "right" to enrich uranium.
Obama hailed the deal's provisions as key to preventing Iran from proliferating. "Simply put, they cut off Iran's most likely paths to a bomb," he told reporters.
Obama described the deal as putting "substantial limitations" on a nuclear program that the United States and its allies fear could be turned to nuclear weapons use.
"While today's announcement is just a first step, it achieves a great deal," Obama said. "For the first time in nearly a decade, we have halted the progress of the Iranian nuclear program, and key parts of the program will be rolled back."
Although the deal lowered tensions between the US and Iran, friction points remain – notably Iran's support of the Syrian
regime of Bashar Assad.
The United States has accused Iran of supporting terrorism throughout the region and of widespread human rights violations.
A White House statement called the nuclear agreement an "initial, six-month step."
Specifically, the statement said the deal limits Iran's existing stockpiles of enriched uranium, which can be turned into the fissile core of nuclear arms.
The statement also said the accord curbs the number and capabilities of the centrifuges used to enrich and limits Iran ability to "produce weapons-grade plutonium" from a reactor in the advanced stages of construction.
The statement also said Iran's nuclear program will be subject to "increased transparency and intrusive monitoring."
"Taken together, these first step measures will help prevent Iran from using the cover of negotiations to continue advancing its nuclear program as we seek to negotiate a long-term, comprehensive solution that addresses all of the international community's concerns," said the statement.
In return, the statement promised "limited, temporary, targeted, and reversible (sanctions) relief" to Iran, noting that "the key oil, banking, and financial sanctions architecture, remains in place." And it said any limited sanctions relief will be revoked and new penalties enacted if Iran fails to meet its commitments.
Those conditions have been highlighted by the Obama administration in its efforts to persuade Congress to hold off on any new sanctions and give the Iran accord a chance to prove its worth.
Reuters, AFP and the Associated Press contributed to this report
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