Netanyahu Says Geneva Deal Worth Billions to Iran

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Iran stands to gain back billions of dollars under a deal to ease economic sanctions, which negotiators almost reached at nuclear talks in Geneva last week.

“It gives Iran a tremendous break, a hole, not a tiny hole, but a big hole, in sanctions,” Netanyahu said today in a speech to the Bloomberg Fuel Choices Summit in Tel Aviv. It would gain “several billion dollars worth that is augmented to much more.”

Netanyahu has urged President Barack Obama and other world leaders to reject any deal with Iran that doesn’t dismantle its nuclear program, and opposed the accord that was offered to Iran by world powers in Geneva last week.

The Geneva talks broke up Nov. 9 without agreement on an offer to ease some economic sanctions on the Islamic republic in return for limited restrictions on its nuclear program. Negotiations are due to resume on Nov. 20.

Addressing the need to develop alternative fuels to oil, Netanyahu said Israel is spending “one half of one percent of our oil import bill on this project.” He said oil is “a source of tremendous international instability.”

Israel’s discovery in recent years of about 29 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in deep-water wells off its Mediterranean coast has eased the nation’s reliance on imported energy. Energy Minister Silvan Shalom says gas production will save Israel as much as $1 billion a month by 2015, up from the current $300 million.

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