Netanyahu to Obama: Iran Framework Threatens Israel's Existence

In phone conversation, Obama tells Netanyahu that progress in nuclear talks doesn't diminish U.S. concerns over 'Iran's sponsorship of terrorism and threats toward Israel.'

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U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington, D.C., March 31, 2015.Credit: AFP

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barak Obama had a difficult phone conversation on Thursday night, hours after the announcement that a framework nuclear agreement was reached between the six world powers and Iran.

According to the Prime Minister's Office, Netanyahu reiterated during the conversation that "a deal based on this framework will threaten Israel's existence."

In the conversation, Netanyahu expressed staunch opposition on Israel's part to the framework deal, describing it as posing a "grave danger to Israel, the region and the world." The prime minister told Obama that only this week an Iranian general said that "Israel's destruction isn't up for negotiation."

Netanyahu also said that these days Iran is stepping up the armament of its terrorist offshoots in the region with the purpose of attacking Israel. "This deal will legitimize the Iranian nuclear program, strengthen the Iranian economy and bolster the Iranian aggression and terror across the Middle East and beyond," he told Obama. "Such a deal will not block Iran's path to the bomb. To the contrary, it will pave it."

Netanyahu stressed that the framework deal with the Iranians will increase the risk of regional nuclear proliferation and war. "The alternative is to increase the pressure on Iran until a better agreement is reached," Netanyahu said.

For his part, Obama told Netanyahu that "while nothing is agreed until everything is, the framework represents significant progress towards a lasting, comprehensive solution that cuts off all of Iran’s pathways to a bomb and verifiably ensures the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program going forward."

Obama emphasized that the progress in the talks doesn't diminish the American concern "with respect to Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism and threats towards Israel." He further reiterated his commitment to Israel's security.

Obama told Netanyahu that he has asked his national security team to step up consultations with the new Israeli government over strengthening the security cooperation between the two countries.