Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that international sanctions on Iran should remain in place, stressing that the Islamic Republic's "unbridled aggression and its terrorism" have proved why the country could not be trusted.
Maintaining his criticism of the US-led framework deal, the prime minister said that a better agreement would tie the lifting of all sanctions "to an end of Iran's aggression in the region, its worldwide terrorism and its threats to annihilate Israel." Iran demands that all sanctions be lifted on the day the agreement goes into effect.
"Iran insists on maintaining its formidable nuclear capabilities with which it could produce nuclear bombs," he said. "Iran insists on removing all sanctions immediately. And Iran refuses to allow effective inspections of all its suspect facilities. At the same time, Iran continues its unbridled aggression in the region and its terrorism throughout the world."
Explaining his strong opposition to the emerging nuclear agreement, Netanyahu said: "So let me reiterate again the two main components of the alternative to this bad deal: First, instead of allowing Iran to preserve and develop its nuclear capabilities, a better deal would significantly roll back these capabilities – for example, by shutting down the illicit underground facilities that Iran concealed for years from the international community.
"Second, instead of lifting the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear facilities and program at a fixed date, a better deal would link the lifting of these restrictions to an end of Iran’s aggression in the region, its worldwide terrorism and its threats to annihilate Israel.
The prime minister continued by saying that "Iran needs a deal more than anyone. Instead of making dangerous concessions to Iran, now is the time for the international community to reassert and fortify its original demands for a better deal.
We must not let Iran, the foremost sponsor of global terrorism, have an easy path to nuclear weapons which will threaten "the entire world."
Earlier Sunday, US President Barack Obama criticized opponents of the framework agreement on Iran's nuclear deal - including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - at a press conference that followed his historic meeting with Cuban President Raul Castro in Panama.
"The Prime Minister of Israel is deeply opposed to it," Obama said about the deal. "I think he’s made that very clear. I have repeatedly asked - what is the alternative that you present that you think makes it less likely for Iran to get a nuclear weapon? And I have yet to obtain a good answer on that that."
Obama made it clear that he would not allow an immediate and complete removal of sanctions. "We are not done yet," he declared.
"What we were able to obtain was a political framework between the P5+1 nations and Iran that provided unprecedented verification of what is taking place in Iran over the next two decades that significantly cuts back on its centrifuges, that cuts off pathways for it to obtain a nuclear weapon, and that calls for, in return, the rolling back of sanctions in a phased way that allows us to snap back if Iran violates the agreement," the president said.
Meanwhile, Zionist Union leaders Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni laid out their Iranian policy on Sunday and called for a "comprehensive, intimate and in-depth strategic discussion with the US" on nuclear talks between world powers and Iran, saying all issues on the table must be clarified with Washington before a final agreement is signed with Tehran.
In a position paper released Sunday, the Zionist Union's leaders demand the United States to "give legitimization ahead of time to any action Israel will need to take to protect its safety".
Associated Press and Yitzhak Benhorin contributed to this report.