FM slams deal with Iran: 'We're entering new era'
'State of Israel will have to think things over,' FM Lieberman says of deal, claiming 'acceptance of right to enrichment opens arms race' with Iran. According to him, deal dangerous not only for Israel, but also for Egypt, Turkey, Gulf states. Lapid, Bennett, PMO echo claims.
Sunday morning, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said "there is no achievement in the is agreement. This is the biggest diplomatic victory Iran has known in recent years – since the Khameini regime (came to power)." When asked if the deal contains any positive aspect, Lieberman replied "no, there is no such thing."
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The tone was echoed by a government spokesperson who said "This is a bad deal. It gives Iran exactly what it wanted – a significant reduction of sanctions while preserving the most significant part of its nuclear program," a official from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said.
Arak reactor (Photo: Gettyimages)
"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. The accord did not lead to the dismantling of the Arak plant... (while) Economic pressure on Iran could have produced a much better agreement that would have led to a dismantling of Iran's nuclear capacities," the statment added.
"Israel does not see itself as bound by this bad, this very bad agreement that has been signed," Economy Minister Naftali Bennett added.
According to Lieberman, "We are entering a new era – the State of Israel will have to think things over."
"It is clear that this deal acknowledges the right of Iran to enrich uranium. This very recognition brings us to a nuclear arming race. The Iranians were rewarded," the newly reinstated foreign minister said.
Lieberman reminded that the UN's atomic watchdog has already reported that "Iran disregards Security Council resolutions, and has noted numerous issues with its military program."
Lieberman added that "it will be very interesting to see how the Saudis and their pundits react. Not for nothing, yesterday (Saturday) a summit was held between Gulf states. This (enrichment) is the most problematic issue for us, as it is for Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt – no one will sit on the sidelines clapping and cheering."
He further warned that "all these countries will now join the (arms) race. There is no doubt that the Saudis, Egyptians and Turks will now begin speaking in the same terminology (used by Iran) – nuclear program for peaceful purposes, nuclear energy, but they will do exactly what Iran did."
According to the foreign minister, "Iran is now on the verge. There are many countries on the (nuclear) verge, Germany and Japan for example, but now one is concerned, despite the fact that they have all the information and technology needed. The reason is that they have responsible and peaceful leadership. We know exactly what leadership Iran has – they continue terror activities against Jews and Israel, they're involved in Syria, Lebanon and Gaza."
When asked whether the deal pushes Israel towards a possible attack on Iran, Lieberman responded that "we are entering a new world."
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni addressed the deal during a special Ynet broadcast: "This is a terrible deal that will threaten not only us, but the entire world. We must now act decisively with the US and our allies in order to try and improve positions towards the next agreement, if one will indeed be signed, and create a political front so that Iran would not be perceived as legitimate."
Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said that "This agreement is still bad and will make it more difficult than before to achieve an appropriate solution in the future," he said. He compared it to a failed 2007 international deal with North Korea and said it "is more likely to bring Iran closer to having a bomb."
"Israel cannot participate in the international celebration, which is based on Iranian deception and (international) self-delusion," said Steinitz, whose responsibilities include monitoring Iran's nuclear program.
But Steinitz indicated an Israeli attack is not in the works for the time being.
"Despite our disappointment, we will remain steadfast in our position and work with our friends and allies in the United States and the rest of the world in an attempt to achieve a comprehensive solution which includes a full and genuine dismantling of Iran's military infrastructure," he said.
Blue in the face
A senior US official said the agreement halted progress on Iran's nuclear programme, including construction of the Arak research reactor, which is of special concern for the West as it can yield potential bomb material.
It would neutralise Iran's stockpile of uranium refined to a fissile concentration of 20%, which is a close step away from the level needed for weapons, and calls for intrusive UN nuclear inspections, the official said.
The Islamic republic denies its nuclear programme has hostile designs and has also committed to stop uranium enrichment above a fissile purity of 5%, a US fact sheet said. But that still appeared to fall far short of Netanyahu's demand for a total rollback of the Iranian nuclear program.
"You stand and shout out until you're blue in the face, and you try to understand why they're not listening. The world wanted an agreement," Finance Minister Yair Lapid, a member of Netanyahu's security cabinet, told Israel's Army Radio.
"We also said that a diplomatic accord would be good. A diplomatic accord is certainly better than war, a diplomatic accord is better than a situation of permanent confrontation - just not this agreement."
Lapid said that in the Israel had to pore over the deal: "For example, we still don't understand exactly what stepping up the monitoring (on Iran's facilities) means. This is a detailed matter. God really is in the small details."
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