Iran deal ‘ushers us into a dangerous era,’ Erdan warns
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Iran deal ‘ushers us into a dangerous era,’ Erdan warns

Minister says implementation of nuclear accord allows Tehran to keep its nuclear program and maintain military activities

Minister of Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan at the swearing-in ceremony of new police officers  at the Ministry of Interior Security in Jerusalem on January 11, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Minister of Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan at the swearing-in ceremony of new police officers at the Ministry of Interior Security in Jerusalem on January 11, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan warned on Saturday that the expected implementation of a landmark nuclear deal between world powers and Iran would endanger the Middle East and fail to curb Tehran’s atomic program.

“The ‘implementation day’ of the nuclear agreement ushers us into a new and dangerous era, in which Iran is freed from most of its economic sanctions, without having to quit its nuclear program or provide explanations for its military activities,” Erdan said in a statement.

Erdan, who is also public security minister, said Iran continued to “supply arms to terror groups like Hezbollah and Hamas” while interfering in the internal affairs of Gulf States and violating a UN Security Council prohibition on “developing ballistic missiles.”

“This is a difficult day for all the states in the region that hoped Iran wouldn’t be able to obtain nuclear arms and would cease to meddle in the region,” said Erdan, who is close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Iran and world powers led by the United States are awaiting an announcement from the UN’s atomic watchdog confirming that Tehran has complied with measures stipulated in the momentous 2015 nuclear deal in return for a lifting of economic sanctions.

Israel tried to prevent the accord, arguing it would not stop Tehran from developing an atomic weapon if it wished. Iran has always denied seeking a nuclear bomb.

Netanyahu has called the deal a “historic mistake,” warning that it entrenches the Islamist regime in power, gives Iran tens of billions of dollars in sanctions relief to fund terrorism and promote regional instability, and paves Iran’s path to a nuclear arsenal.

An Israeli official said earlier Saturday that Iran’s first priority once the deal is implemented would be to spend its newly freed-up funds on military acquisitions, and not on civilian investments, Army Radio reported. Furthermore, the unnamed source said, the implementation of the agreement would have a direct impact on the region, as terror groups Hezbollah and Hamas — both recipients of Iranian largesse — would find themselves in possession of new and modern weaponry.

“The world powers are mistaken if they see Iran as a solution to regional stability, and not the source of the problem,” a second unnamed official said, according to the radio.

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