Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fiercely criticized Tuesday the nuclear agreement reached between Iran and world powers, 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," and added that Israel was not bound by the agreement, “because Iran continues to seek our destruction.”
"Amazingly," said Netanyahu, "this bad deal does not require Iran to cease its aggressive behavior in any way... While the negotiators were closing the deal in Vienna, Iran's supposedly moderate president chose to go to a rally in Tehran, and at this rally a frenzied mob burned American and Israeli flags and chanted 'Death to America,' 'Death to Israel.'"
"Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, said on March 21st that the deal does not limit Iran's aggression in any way," Netanyahu continued, "he said, 'Negotiations with the United States [are] on the nuclear issue – and nothing else,' and three days ago he made that clear again. The United States, he said, embodies global arrogance and the battle against it will continue unabated, even after the nuclear agreement is concluded."
The prime minister added: "Here's what Hassan Nasrallah, head of Iran's terrorist proxy Hezbollah, said about sanctions relief, which is a key component of the deal. He said, 'A rich and strong Iran will be able to stand by its allies and friends in the region more than at any time in the past.' Translation: Iran's support for terrorism and subversion will actually increase after the deal."
Netanyahu said the deal with Iran "repeats the mistakes made with North Korea, where "we were assured that inspections and verifications would prevent a rogue regime from developing nuclear weapons. And we all know how that ended."
"The bottom line of this very bad deal is exactly what Iran's President Rohani said today. The international community is removing the sanctions, and Iran is keeping its nuclear program."
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."
U.S. President Barack Obama plans to call Netanyahu, as well as the Saudi king and European allies about the deal, a U.S. official said.
Israel has received an official copy of the nuclear deal reached between Iran and world powers, a senior official in Jerusalem said Tuesday afternoon, prior to the sides' formal announcement that the agreement had been reached.
Officials in the Prime Minister's Office, the Foreign Ministry and the Defense Ministry immediately began studying the material, ahead of consultations with Netanyahu scheduled for later in the day.
'Deal will fuel Iran's terror machine'
Earlier, Netanyahu said that the nuclear deal between Iran and the world powers was "a bad mistake of historic proportions," issuing yet another attack on the agreement less than an hour before the two sides were to formally announce the deal.
Netanyahu also sent a message to the political opposition, calling for unity. "I say to all the leaders in Israel - now is the time to put aside petty politics and unite for the sake the most crucial issue of the State of Israel's future and security," he said.
The prime minister said the nuclear deal is further evidence of the world powers' willingness to make a deal at any price.
"Far-reaching concessions were made in areas that were supposed to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons," Netanyahu said. "Iran will receive hundreds of billions of dollars, with which it can fuel its terror machine, and pursue its aggression and terror in the region and the world."
Netanyahu defended himself against criticism leveled at him in recent days, particularly by Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid, saying that it was impossible to prevent a deal since negotiators from the world powers were willing to make more and more concessions.
"We understand that the desire to sign an agreement was stronger than anything - therefore we have committed ourselves to prevent an agreement," Netanyahu said. "We have pledged to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons - and this commitment remains."
Iranian and Western diplomats confirmed Tuesday morning that a formal agreement had been reached. At 11:30 A.M. Israel time, the foreign ministers of Iran, the European Union, United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany convened for a concluding session at the United Nations headquarters in Vienna, after which they announced that an agreement had been reached.
On Monday, Netanyahu also slammed the concessions that the world powers had offered Iran, saying they had shown that they will accept a nuclear deal at any price.
"If the concessions continue even after 'death to America' chants in Tehran, then it is clear that some are willing to make a deal at any price," Netanyahu said at a Likud faction meeting.
"Were it not for our efforts over the years, Iran would have accumulated nuclear weapons already. Our commitment to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon still stands today."
Netanyahu launched an official account in Farsi Monday night ahead of the Iran deal, intending to integrate the move into the framework of hasbara efforts against the emerging nuclear deal.
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