Arab Israeli MKs welcome Iran nuclear agreement
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Arab Israeli MKs welcome Iran nuclear agreement

Joint List pans PM for opposing deal, calls accord ‘a victory of the will of Iranians against a blockade’

Tamar Pileggi is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Joint (Arab) List leader MK Ayman Odeh is flanked by MKs Masud Ganaim (L) and Ahmad Tibi at the party's weekly meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem on June 29, 2015 (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Joint (Arab) List leader MK Ayman Odeh is flanked by MKs Masud Ganaim (L) and Ahmad Tibi at the party's weekly meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem on June 29, 2015 (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Breaking with the large majority of Israel’s body politic, the Joint List of Arab political parties welcomed Tuesday’s nuclear agreement with Iran and praised Tehran for refusing to give in to world powers.

The Joint (Arab) List welcomed the nuclear agreement reached by Iran and world powers Tuesday after 18 days of intense and often fractious negotiations that capped years of sporadic talks aimed at curbing Tehran’s nuclear ambitions in exchange for the easing of economic sanctions.

In an official statement, the opposition lawmakers called the landmark agreement “a victory of the will of Iranians in their struggle against a blockade and sanctions imposed on them without caving to international demands.”

The statement was a rare voice of support for the deal among Israeli lawmakers, who roundly criticized the agreement as a major mistake by world powers.

In their statement, the Joint List also called for the agreement to include a clause demanding the supervision and dismantling of the nuclear warheads Israel is widely believed to possess.

“We have to keep the region free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction,” the statement read.

The Knesset members also said the main source of tensions in the region was not Iran’s nuclear program but Israel’s occupation of the Palestinians.

“Netanyahu’s incitement and rhetoric against Iran and the agreement under the pretext of an ‘Iranian threat,’ reflect a colonist and imperialist approach,” the MKs wrote.

The head of the left-wing Meretz party voiced cautious support for the agreement, which will curb Iranian enrichment in exchange for a lifting of sanctions, and joined other opposition lawmakers in criticizing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s handling of the US-led diplomatic effort.

In a Facebook post, Zahava Gal-on said the prime minister’s outspoken opposition to the talks, which dinged up Israel’s relations with allies around the world, turned Israel into part of the problem rather than the solution.

“The agreement is not perfect, it does not turn Iran into lovers of Israel all of the sudden, but it does aim to prevent Iran from obtaining a bomb, regulate the international mechanisms to monitoring it and allows the international community to act if the agreement is violated,” she said.

The lawmaker panned Netanyahu for not offering an alternative solution to Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Netanyahu earlier blasted the agreement as a “historic mistake for the world.”

World leaders, however, praised the agreement as a triumph of diplomacy at making the world safer.

AP contributed to this report.

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