Photo: GPO
Netanyahu to lobby against framework deal
Photo: GPO

Israel prepares lobbying strategy against Iran deal

Israeli analysis finds shortcomings of framework nuclear agreement; Netanyahu to urge world to take action against Tehran's ballistic missiles program as well.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's appearances on multiple American TV news programs on Sunday signaled the launch of what is expected to be a furious lobbying effort to scuttle or reshape a deal that he has criticized as "bad" and a threat to Israel's very existence.



A document drawn up by experts in Netanyahu's office, obtained by The Associated Press, gives a glimpse of the arguments the Israeli leader is going to raise, targeting vague language in the system of inspections and its failure to address issues beyond the nuclear program.


Netanyahu, an outspoken critic of the negotiations with Iran, has already criticized the deal as insufficient. He is expected to lobby heavily against the framework deal as its language is finalized ahead of a June 30 agreement.


The framework agreement was announced on Thursday in Lausanne, Switzerland, by US-led world powers and Iran. The deal aims to cut significantly into Iran's bomb-making technology while giving Tehran relief from international sanctions. The commitments, if implemented, would substantially pare down Iranian nuclear assets for a decade and restrict others for an additional five years.


Iran and world powers announce framework deal (Photo: AP) (Photo: AP)
Iran and world powers announce framework deal (Photo: AP)


Netanyahu believes the deal leaves too much of Iran's suspect nuclear program intact, would give it quick relief from economic sanctions and create an easy path for the Islamic Republic to gain the ability to produce a bomb. He also says the deal fails to address Iran's support for militant groups across the Middle East.


But he faces an uphill struggle as he takes aim at a deal negotiated by six global powers - the US, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany - and Iran. After last week's preliminary deal, the sides will try to work out a final agreement by a June 30 deadline.


Netanyahu's criticism has contributed to rising tensions with President Barack Obama. Last month, Netanyahu delivered a speech to Congress against the emerging deal, angering the White House because it had not been coordinated ahead of time. Obama's assurances in recent days that the deal would protect Israeli security have had little effect. 


The Israeli analysis of the framework, meanwhile, raises 10 questions about alleged shortcomings in the framework. 


According to a US document listing those commitments, Tehran is ready to reduce its number of centrifuges, the machines that can spin uranium gas to levels used in nuclear warheads, and submit to aggressive monitoring and inspections of its nuclear facilities.


But the Israeli analysis claims the system of inspections is not as thorough as proclaimed because it does not explicitly force the Iranians to open their sites "anywhere, anytime."


It also claims the agreement is vague about what happens to Iran's stockpile of enriched uranium, a key ingredient in producing nuclear bombs, or how sanctions might be re-imposed if Iran violates the deal.


While Iran is not supposed to enrich uranium with its advanced centrifuges for 10 years, the deal permits limited "research and development" of the advanced centrifuges, according to the US document. Israeli officials say this means that Iran could immediately put these centrifuges into action after the deal expires or breaks down.


Iran's Bushehr nuclear reactor (Photo: Reuters)
Iran's Bushehr nuclear reactor (Photo: Reuters)


They also want Iran "to come clean" about its past nuclear weapons efforts. Iran insists its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes, a claim that is widely disputed.


Netanyahu has said the deal leaves too much of Iran's nuclear infrastructure in place. He says the deal should "significantly roll back" Iran's nuclear program.


As Netanyahu lobbies against the deal, he is expected to urge the world to take action against Iran's non-nuclear activities as well, according to the document.


It says the deal should address Iran's ballistic missiles, which are capable of delivering nuclear warheads, and Iran's support for militant groups across the region.


Netanyahu fears that Iran will take advantage of the international community's goodwill and press forward with an illicit weapons program, much the way North Korea did. The reclusive Asian country has managed to develop a weapons capability, despite two decades of on-again off-again talks with the international community and inspections by international experts.


In 2007, North Korea agreed to shut down its main nuclear reactor. Within two years, it had halted international inspections and reactivated its nuclear facilities.


"The entire world celebrated the deal with North Korea," Netanyahu told NBC's "Meet the Press." ''But it turned out to be a very very bad deal."


פרסום ראשון: 04.05.15, 21:42
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