Downplaying the Crisis

Netanyahu: Israel, U.S. Have Common Goal to Prevent a Nuclear Iran

PM attempts to minimize the brewing Israeli-U.S. crisis over negotiations on Iran's nuclear program; Kerry: Netanyahu needs to recognize that the time to oppose a deal 'is when you see what it is.'

In an attempt to play down public confrontation between Israel and the U.S. regarding Iran's nuclear program, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took a more moderate stand on Monday and reassured that the two countries are determined to prevent a nuclear Iran.

"Our common goal, that of the U.S., Europe, China, and Russia is to prevent Iran from developing a military nuclear capability," Netanyahu said at the start of the meeting with Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders.

"I think it's time to improve the deal. Iran is on its knees economically and it's possible to get a better deal. Before the sanctions are lessened, get a good deal, not a bad deal," he said.

Earlier Monday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that Netanyahu "needs to recognize that no agreement" with Iran has been reached and his opposition is premature. 

"The time to oppose [a deal] is when you see what it is," Kerry told reporters in Abu Dhabi.

In a tense meeting with Kerry ahead of his departure to Geneva last week, 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."

In an address to the annual General Assembly of Jewish Federations of North America on Sunday in Jerusalem, Netanyahu made a direct appeal for Jews worldwide to join him in speaking out against the deal.  It is a "bad and dangerous deal" that threatens Israel’s survival and “on matters of Jewish survival, I will not be silenced,” Netanyahu said.