GENEVA - Israel does not see itself bound by an agreement between Tehran and the six world powers over Iran's nuclear program, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Friday morning.
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In a tense meeting with Kerry ahead of his departure to Geneva, Netanyahu said that Israel does not see itself committed to any deal reached between the P5+1 and Iran in their negotiations.
Kerry called off making a statement before the meeting in an attempt to avoid a public confrontation. But Netanyahu decided to go ahead with a statement on his own, in which he slammed a possible agreement between Iran and the six world powers.
Iran got "the deal of the century and the international community got a bad deal," Netanyahu told reporters. "Israel utterly rejects it and many in the region share my opinion, whether or not they express that publicly. Israel is not obliged by this agreement and Israel will do everything it needs to do to defend itself and the security of its people."
"I understand that the Iranians are walking around very satisfied in Geneva, and they should be because they got everything and paid nothing," he said. "They wanted relief from sanctions after years of a grueling sanctions regime. They got that without paying a thing because they are not reducing in any way their nuclear enrichment capability," he said.
The meeting between the two leaders is the third in barely 48 hours. Kerry was expected to leave Israel immediately thereafter for Geneva at the invitation of European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, amid signs of an emerging deal that would limit Tehran's atomic work.
According to a U.S. State Department official, Kerry was invited to the Geneva talks in an effort "to help narrow the differences" between Iran and world powers. The official demanded anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.
Under the deal being formulated in Geneva, Iran would suspend most of its uranium enrichment for six months in exchange for a temporary ease of sanctions.
Kerry, whose visit was unplanned, is expected to meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and make a joint statement on reaching a "first step" deal to curb the Iranian nuclear program.
Netanyahu, speaking to the press after his meeting with Kerry, called on the U.S. secretary of state "not to haste in signing (a deal with Iran), to wait and weigh (his options) anew." He reiterated that the deal with Iran would be a big win for it and a "bad and very dangerous deal for peace and the international community."
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius will also arrive in Geneva to join the meeting between Kerry, Ashton and Zarif. According to EU spokesman Michael Mann, Fabius is due to arrive Friday.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague announced on Twitter that he, too, would be joining the talks on Friday, and a source said German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle would also travel to Geneva that day.