Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged President Barack Obama and other world leaders to reject any deal with Iran that doesn’t curb or dismantle its ability to produce a nuclear weapon.
In phone calls with heads of five of the six countries negotiating a deal with Iran, “I told them that according to the information reaching Israel, the apparent deal is bad and dangerous,” Netanyahu said today in remarks broadcast from his weekly cabinet meeting. “It is dangerous not just for us, it is also dangerous for them.”
World powers failed to reach agreement with Iran last night on limiting its nuclear program after French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius raised concerns that not enough restrictions had been imposed on Iran’s unfinished heavy-water reactor or stockpiles of enriched uranium.
Netanyahu has been among the most vocal opponents to easing economic sanctions, calling the proposed agreement discussed at the talks in Geneva the “deal of the century” for Iran.
“I asked all the leaders -- why the haste?” Netanyahu told cabinet members at a session in southern Israel, reviewing his phone calls with Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin and French, British and German leaders. “It is good that this is what was decided in the end, but I am not deluding myself -- there is a strong desire to reach an agreement, I hope not an agreement at any price.”
The cabinet meeting was held at the Sde Boker academy in the Negev desert to mark the 40th anniversary of the death of Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, who is buried there.
In an interview with CBS’s Face the Nation after the cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said Iran is becoming a “threshold nuclear nation,” negotiating a plan in which it “gives practically nothing and gets a hell of a lot.” He said lifting the sanctions is like “putting a hole in your tire and letting all the air out. Soon you have a flat tire.”
Netanyahu also told the cabinet that international pressure won’t force him to reach a peace agreement, accusing the Palestinians of engaging in “untrammeled incitement” against Israel.
During the meeting, the cabinet authorized the reappointment of Avigdor Liberman as foreign minister. Liberman was cleared in Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court last week of fraud and breach of trust charges that forced him to resign the post after being indicted in December.
Liberman, 55, has often voiced skepticism about reaching an agreement with the Palestinians. Parliament must approve his appointment.
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