Netanyahu Tells Obama Iran Deal Threatens Israel's Security

Security cabinet unanimously rejects Vienna nuclear agreement; Obama: Deal will not diminish U.S. concerns regarding Iranian threats over Israel.

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) meets with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Obama meets with Netanyahu at the White House in Washington, 2014. Reuters

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday that Israel was concerned over the nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers. In a phone conversation, Netanyahu said the deal threatens the security of Israel and of the entire world.

"Prime Minister Netanyahu stressed that an examination of the agreement raises two major dangers," the Prime Minister's Office said."The agreement will allow Iran to arm itself with nuclear weapons either after adhering to the agreement for 10-15 years, or by violating it beforehand. In addition, [the deal] will pump billions of dollars to the Iranian terror and war machine, which threatens Israel and the entire world."

Obama: Deal will not diminish concerns regarding Iran

Obama told Netanyahu that U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter will visit Israel next week to discuss ways to strengthen security cooperation between the two nations, "as we remain vigilant in countering the Iranian regime’s destabilizing activities in the region," a statement published by the White House said. The agreement "will verifiably prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon while ensuring the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program," the U.S. president said.

During the conversation with Netanyahu, Obama stressed his administration's commitment to Israel's security and noted that the nuclear deal will remove the danger of a nuclear-armed Iran, "an outcome in the national security interest of the United States and Israel."

The nuclear agreement with Iran, Obama continued, will not diminish American concerns "regarding Iran's support for terrorism and threats over Israel."

Inner cabinet rejects Iran deal

After discussing the nuclear deal on Tuesday, the Israeli security cabinet unanimously decided to reject the agreement reached in Vienna and said that Israel was not bound by it, a stance also voiced by Netanyahu erlier. 

The ministers were briefed in the meeting by Mossad chief Tamir Pardo, chief of Military Intelligence Herzi Halevi, National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen and other officials.

After the meeting, Education Minister Naftali Bennett told Haaretz that Iran will become a terror powerhouse in the next decade, because of the funds it will now receive. In ten years, he added, Iran will become a nuclear power that could break out to a nuclear bomb swiftly.

Speaking to reporters ahead of the meeting, Netanyahu fiercely criticized the nuclear agreement, calling it “a stunning historic mistake.”

"The world is a much more dangerous place today than it was yesterday," he said in a press conference in Jerusalem before the inner security cabinet convened to discuss the nuclear agreement.

The prime minister said the six world powers – the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China – poorly "bet our collective future."

The deal will give the Iranian regime "the capacity to produce many nuclear bombs, in fact an entire nuclear arsenal, with the means to deliver it. What a stunning, historic mistake," Netanyahu said, sterssing that "Israel is not bound by this deal with Iran, because Iran continues to seek our destruction. We will always defend ourselves."

Obama said Tuesday that the agreement ensures that "every pathway" the Islamic Republic may have had to nuclear weapons "is cut off." Senior American officials said that, according to the deal, if Iran violates the it, international sanctions will be restored within 65 days. In addition, the International Atomic Energy Agency would have to confirm prior to the lifting of each sanction that Iran had fulfilled its obligations.