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Netanyahu: World powers took a gamble on our shared future

In security cabinet meeting, ministers reject nuclear deal; PM accuses world leaders of placing bets on international security

  • US State Secretary John Kerry addresses a press conference of the Palais Coburg Hotel where the Iran nuclear talks meetings are being held in Vienna, Austria on July 9, 2015. (AFP/JOE KLAMAR)
    US State Secretary John Kerry addresses a press conference of the Palais Coburg Hotel where the Iran nuclear talks meetings are being held in Vienna, Austria on July 9, 2015. (AFP/JOE KLAMAR)
  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a statement to the press following the nuclear deal with Iran, at the PMO in Jerusalem, July 14, 2015 (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a statement to the press following the nuclear deal with Iran, at the PMO in Jerusalem, July 14, 2015 (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
  • Iranian President Hassan Rouhani making a statement following announcement of the Iran nuclear deal, Tuesday, July 14, 2015 in Tehran. (Press TV via AP video)
    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani making a statement following announcement of the Iran nuclear deal, Tuesday, July 14, 2015 in Tehran. (Press TV via AP video)
  • (From L to R) Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, and Head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi pose for a group picture at the United Nations building in Vienna, Austria on July 14, 2015. (Joe Klamar/AFP)
    (From L to R) Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, and Head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi pose for a group picture at the United Nations building in Vienna, Austria on July 14, 2015. (Joe Klamar/AFP)
  • US President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in Washington on July 14, 2015. (Screen capture: France24)
    US President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in Washington on July 14, 2015. (Screen capture: France24)
  • (L-R) German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Philip Hammond and US Secretary of State John Kerry talk prior to a plenary session at the United Nations building in Vienna, Austria July 14, 2015. (Joe Klamar/AFP)
    (L-R) German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Philip Hammond and US Secretary of State John Kerry talk prior to a plenary session at the United Nations building in Vienna, Austria July 14, 2015. (Joe Klamar/AFP)
  • French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, second from right, German Minister for Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier, second from left, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, left, US Secretary of State John Kerry, center, and Austria's Foreign minister Sebastian Kurz, right, talk prior to their final plenary meeting at the United Nations building in Vienna, Austria July 14, 2015. (Joe Klamar/AFP)
    French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, second from right, German Minister for Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier, second from left, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, left, US Secretary of State John Kerry, center, and Austria's Foreign minister Sebastian Kurz, right, talk prior to their final plenary meeting at the United Nations building in Vienna, Austria July 14, 2015. (Joe Klamar/AFP)
  • US Secretary of State John Kerry (2nd R) talks to US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz (R) during a plenary session at the United Nations building in Vienna, Austria July 14, 2015. (Joe Klamar/AFP)
    US Secretary of State John Kerry (2nd R) talks to US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz (R) during a plenary session at the United Nations building in Vienna, Austria July 14, 2015. (Joe Klamar/AFP)
  • Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (R) speaks next to European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini (C) during a plenary session at the United Nations building in Vienna, Austria July 14, 2015. (Carlos Barria/AFP)
    Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (R) speaks next to European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini (C) during a plenary session at the United Nations building in Vienna, Austria July 14, 2015. (Carlos Barria/AFP)

The Times of Israel liveblogged Tuesday’s events as they unfolded.

World powers said meeting, without Iran

According to CNN, one of the final sticking points standing in the way of the deal is the wording of a United Nations Security Council resolution and the issue of a conventional weapons embargo.

Israel’s Ynet, meanwhile, is quoting an unnamed American source saying that the representatives of the P5+1 countries are holding talks without Iranian participation.

Netanyahu: Stopping Iran is ‘paramount challenge’

Late Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a pro-Israel conference that keeping Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons power is the “paramount challenge” of this generation.

Netanyahu spoke in a live video feed to the annual conference of Christians United for Israel in Washington, DC.

The CUFI conference featured speaker after speaker condemning the deal as appeasement, including an array of Republican presidential hopefuls, among them former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and US Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

“This deal will legitimize Iran and will destabilize the Middle East,” Bush said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on July 12, 2015. (Emil Salman/POOL)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on July 12, 2015. (Emil Salman/POOL)

Speaking to the Knesset earlier Monday, the Israeli leader signaled that he was ready to mount an effort to derail the deal.

“It seems that there are those who are ready to make an agreement at any price – and this bad agreement is unavoidable,” Netanyahu told the Knesset. “Our commitment is to prevent Iran from arming itself with nuclear weapons, and it is valid today more than ever. I call on all those who care about Israel’s security to unite behind this commitment.”

Draft deal said to provide for a UN visit to Parchin

The meeting of the six P5+1 representatives is said to have concluded.

Reuters is reporting that the draft Iran nuclear deal calls for allowing U.N. access to all suspect Iranian sites, including a visit to Parchin military site.

Security Council ‘to adopt resolution based on deal’

A diplomatic source tells Reuters that should a deal be reached, the UN Security Council is likely to adopt a resolution this month on the steps required by both sides — such as limitations placed on Iran and sanctions removal by world powers.

The Reuters report notes that the information was based on a draft of the agreement and not the final document, and could still change.

Iranian news agency: Joint statement within hours

Iran’s ISNA news agency reports a joint statement by the Iranian foreign minister and the European Union foreign policy chief is expected within hours, according to Reuters.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini (L) meets with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during Iranian nuclear talks in Lausanne on March 29, 2015. Global powers are seeking to pin down the broad outlines of a deal to rein in Iran's suspect nuclear program by a March 31 deadline. (photo credit: AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI)

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini (L) meets with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during Iranian nuclear talks in Lausanne on March 29, 2015. Global powers are seeking to pin down the broad outlines of a deal to rein in Iran’s suspect nuclear program by a March 31 deadline. (photo credit: AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI)

Deal plans sanctions relief for 2016, diplomat says

A top diplomat involved in nuclear negotiations in Vienna tells Reuters that the emerging agreement states that relief from Western sanctions will be implemented during the first half of 2016.

Delegations advise press to stay up for news conference

Different delegations at the negotiations are advising reporters in a packed press tent in Vienna to stay up all night and be ready for an early morning news conference.

But US State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf and EU spokeswoman Catherine Ray both note in identical tweets that there are “all kinds of unfounded rumors on the schedule.”

–AFP

Iranian media: Decisive meeting on deal at 0800 GMT

Iran’s Fars news agency says a “comprehensive” meeting on a possible final nuclear deal will be held by the sides at 0800 GMT (11 a.m. Israel time), according to Reuters.

This would contradict earlier reports that an announcement of an accord could take place pre-dawn.

Iranian official denies Iran will allow entry to military sites

An Iranian official tells the Fars news agency that reports Tehran has agreed to the inspection of military facilities are false.

The official calls the claims “psychological warfare” intended to sway public opinion in the final lead-up to an accord.

He says entry by foreigners to Iran’s military facilities is a “red line” that will not be crossed.

‘Obama and Rouhani to make statements after announcement’

The Guardian and other news sites reports top diplomats from the P5+1 and Iran will issue a statement and appear for a photo op sometime later Tuesday morning.

Shortly after, US President Barack Obama and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani will make statements from Washington and Iran respectively.

Herzog: Opposition will work to improve nuke deal

Zionist Union party head Isaac Herzog, while criticizing Netanyahu, tells Army Radio the opposition he leads will also work to try to improve the Iran deal.

He does not say if opposition lawmakers will work in concert with the Netanyahu’s ruling coalition, or in parallel.

Diplomat: Final drafting of deal still going on

A diplomat tells the Associated Press that final drafting of the deal is still going on.

But another diplomat says that the deal is tentatively set to be announced at 10 a.m Vienna time (11 a.m. Israel), indicating that it is well on the way to completion.

Deal will let UN press for — and Iran deny — access to military sites

As a deal announcement inches ever closer, a senior diplomat says it included a compromise between Washington and Tehran that would allow UN inspectors to press for visits to Iranian military sites as part of their monitoring duties.

But access at will to any site would not necessarily be granted and even if so, could be delayed, a condition that critics of the deal are sure to seize on as possibly giving Tehran time to cover any sign of non-compliance with its commitments.

Under the deal, Tehran would have the right to challenge the UN request and an arbitration board composed of Iran and the six world powers that negotiated with it would have to decide on the issue.

Still, such an arrangement would be a notable departure from assertions by top Iranian officials that their country would never allow the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency into such sites.

Iran has argued that such visits by the IAEA would be a cover for spying on its military secrets.

While access is a key part of monitoring envisaged cuts on Tehran’s present nuclear activities, it is also important for the IAEA as it tries to kick-start nearly a decade of stalled attempts to probe allegations that Iran worked on nuclear arms.

Washington says that Iran must cooperate with the IAEA’s probe as part of any overall deal before all sanctions on it are lifted.

The Iranians insist they have never worked on weapons and have turned down IAEA requests to visit sites where the agency suspects such work was going on, including Parchin, the military complex near Tehran where the agency believes explosives testing linked to setting off a nuclear charge was conducted.

Iran’s acceptance in principle of access to military sites will give the agency extra authority in its attempts to go to the site and its demands — previously rejected by Tehran — to interview scientists it suspects were involved in the alleged nuclear weapons work.

— AP

Erdan says ‘details of deal matter little, as long as road ends in Iranian nuke’

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan tells Army Radio that “the details of the agreement matter little, so long as at its end they [the Iranians] can still acquire nuclear weapons.”

Asked about a “compensation package” for Israel in the shape of additional defense assistance, Erdan says the time has not yet come to discuss this since the US Congress now will review the agreement for 60 days, during which time Jerusalem can point out all the gaps it perceives the agreement to contain.

Minister of Public Security, Gilad Erdan, May 18, 2015 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Minister of Public Security, Gilad Erdan, May 18, 2015 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Iranian media reports another round of Vienna meetings

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif meets with German Foreign Minister Frank Walther Steinmeier, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, according to a report in Iranian news agency IRNA.

Zarif also met with US Secretary of State John Kerry.

His deputies Abbas Araqchi and Majid Takht Ravanchi, according to the report, held meetings with their US counterparts Wendy Sherman and the special assistant to US President Barack Obama, Robert Malley.

Herzog says PM failed to leverage Iran deal for security assistance

Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog tells Army Radio that had Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not fought with the Americans, Israel would receive a military assistance package as “compensation” for the deal.

“If you go to a deal, as bad as it may be, the way to minimize its damage is by arriving at an agreement with the US on a very significant security package,” Herzog says, like the ones negotiated by Sunni Gulf states which are US allies. “Israel is avoiding doing this and is not negotiating with the US,” Herzog adds.

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog seen during a Zionist Camp party meeting at the Knesset, Israel's parliament in Jerusalem on June 1, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog seen during a Zionist Camp party meeting at the Knesset, Israel’s parliament in Jerusalem on June 1, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

‘Final plenary’ of Iran talks in c. 2 hours

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf tweets that the final plenary of the Iran talks will take place at 10:30 Vienna time (12:30 Israel time)”

Iranian diplomat – Deal is sealed, God bless our people

Iran and six world powers have reached a nuclear deal, Reuters reports.

According to the agreement, Tehran will be granted sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program, an Iranian diplomat says.

“All the hard work has paid off and we sealed a deal. God bless our people,” the diplomat tells Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Mogherini, Zarif to make joint statement today

A diplomat speaking to The Associated Press says the nuclear agreement is likely to be announced by this afternoon in Vienna. Iranian state television earlier said a joint statement marking the conclusion of nuclear talks with world powers will be read around noon.

The TV report, calling the talks Tuesday the “final steps in a 12-year marathon,” said the statement will be read by European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

— AP

Livni says ‘deal is dramatic, and Israel isn’t there’

Zionist Union co-chair Tzipi Livni says the Iranian nuclear deal is “a dramatic agreement, and Israel is not there.”

Speaking on Army Radio, Livni says that “if this was a military campaign and Netanyahu was in the opposition he would tear a political coupon from it, but we will not do it now.” She then goes on a tirade against Netanyahu’s performance on literally all fronts, Iranian or other, in an effort to leverage what she defines as his failure for her political advantage. “If anything is clear, it is that Netanyahu is ineffective,” she says.

Formal nuclear deal has been reached with Iran

A senior Western diplomat says a nuclear agreement was reached after clearing final obstacles. The diplomat says it includes a compromise between Washington and Tehran that would allow UN inspectors to press for visits to Iranian military sites as part of their monitoring duties.

But access at will to any site would not necessarily be granted and even if so, could be delayed, a condition that critics of the deal are sure to seize on as possibly giving Tehran time to cover any sign of non-compliance with its commitments.

Under the deal, Tehran would have the right to challenge the UN request and an arbitration board composed of Iran and the six world powers that negotiated with it would have to decide on the issue.

— AP

Austrian police officers walk past the Palais Coburg Hotel where the Iran nuclear talks meetings are being held in Vienna, Austria on July 13, 2015. (Joe Klamar/AFP)

Austrian police officers walk past the Palais Coburg Hotel where the Iran nuclear talks meetings are being held in Vienna, Austria on July 13, 2015. (Joe Klamar/AFP)

Israel will use ‘all diplomatic means’ to prevent deal’s approval – deputy FM

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely issues a special statement after initial reports say a deal has been reached in Vienna, saying that “this agreement is a historic agreement of surrender by the West to the axis of evil led by Iran.”

“The implications of the agreement in the foreseeable future are very severe, Iran will continue disseminating its metastasizing terror cells in all directions, will continue to inflame the Middle East and worst of all – will take a huge step toward becoming a nuclear threshold state. Israel will use all diplomatic means in order to prevent the confirmation of the agreement,” Hotovely says.

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Preparations underway for Vienna press conference

An Iranian journalist tweets a photo of the conference room where the Iran nuclear deal will be announced.

Levin says world ‘consented’ to vast Iranian nuke arsenal in 10 years

Likud Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin says the Iran nuclear deal is “a very bad agreement, setting a path that in ten years will allow Iran to have a large arsenal of nuclear arms with the approval and consent of world powers. [Iran] will be able to restore its economy and manufacture [sic] more terrorism.”

Levin makes the comments to Ynet.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, right, with Tourism Minister Yariv Levin as they arrive at the weekly cabinet meeting, Jerusalem, May 26, 2015. (Marc Israel Sellem/POOL/FLASH90)

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, right, with Tourism Minister Yariv Levin as they arrive at the weekly cabinet meeting, Jerusalem, May 26, 2015. (Marc Israel Sellem/POOL/FLASH90)

Liberman likens deal to N. Korea, Munich pacts

The nuclear deal that world powers struck with Iran is on par with the agreement with North Korea and with the infamous 1938 Munich agreement, former foreign minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) says.

The deal to be announced in Vienna today is a “complete capitulation to terrorism,” he adds. “A black flag waves over this agreement and it will be remembered as a black day for the free world.” Israel needs to remember that “if I am not for myself, who will be,” he adds.

Calling the deal a danger for the entire free world, Technology Minister Danny Danon (Likud) says the money the agreement will bring to Iran will “fuel terrorism in the streets of Jerusalem, Washington and London.” He calls on Israel’s friends in the world’s parliaments to reject the agreement.

— Raphael Ahren

Miri Regev calls deal a ‘license to kill’

Cabinet minister Miri Regev (Likud) says a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers gives the Islamic Republic a “license to kill.”

Regev calls the deal “bad for the free world (and) bad for humanity,” and says lobbying against the deal reached in Vienna should continue and Congress can still block the deal.

— AP

Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev seen at the opening of the Jerusalem Film Festival held at Sultan's Pool, outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem, on July 9, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev seen at the opening of the Jerusalem Film Festival held at Sultan’s Pool, outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem, on July 9, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Yachimovich says PM must ‘end feud with US’

MK Shelly Yachimovich, a member of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, says that now that the “dangerous and harmful” nuclear deal with Iran has been reached, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must end the public feud with the US administration and stop “hurling horror scenarios, and come to his senses” in order to improve Israel’s standing as the agreement is implemented.

Labor MK Shelly Yachimovich  (Photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Labor MK Shelly Yachimovich (Photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

“The Labor Party must not be a partner to the attempts to circumvent the US administration by way of Congress. It has become undoubtedly clear that the bitter confrontation with the Americans was an utter failure that will be taught in history books.”

She calls for cooperation with the US from this point forth in order “to safeguard, with American help, the force of Israeli deterrence.”

— Mitch Ginsburg

PM calls deal ‘mistake of historic proportions’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that the deal with Iran is a mistake of historic proportions.

Speaking at a meeting with Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders, Netanyahu says he will refer to the details of the agreement “later” but adds the current result is the outcome one receives when willing to sign a deal at any cost.

World powers made concessions to Iran in all areas which were supposed to prevent the country’s ability to arm itself with nuclear weapons, says the prime minister.

Reiterating comments he made yesterday, Netanyahu says one cannot prevent an agreement when those negotiating it are willing to continue making concession after concession even as the other side publicly calls for “Death to America.”

The will to sign a deal, the prime minister says without calling US President Barack Obama by name, is the strongest force in operation and this is why Israel never committed to preventing an agreement. It remains committed to preventing Iran from acquiring nukes and this commitment stands, Netanyahu says.

He adds a call to all Israeli leaders to set aside petty politics and unite behind what he called the most fateful issue for Israel’s future and security.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the Likud faction meeting at the Knesset, on July 13, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the Likud faction meeting at the Knesset, on July 13, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Iran’s Press TV tweets Iranian gains in deal

Iran’s Press TV posts a series of tweets detailing what the Islamic Republic stands to gain from the nuclear agreement.

Iran will receive “facilitated access in trade, technology, financial, energy fields,” says one tweet.

The bans on the country’s central bank, shipping, oil industry, and many other companies will be removed, according to Press TV.

“Billions” of Iran’s blocked revenues will be unfrozen and a ban on Iranian students studying abroad in nuclear-related fields will be fully removed.

Another tweet says the arms embargo against Iran will be lifted and replaced with “some restrictions to be removed in five years.”

On the nuclear front, the Arak heavy water reactor will remain intact and be modernized and equipped with “latest technology,” while the country’s nuclear infrastructure and research and development on advanced centrifuges will continue, according to Press TV.

When the implementation of the deal begins, economic and financial sanctions imposed by the US and EU will be lifted, the station reports.

Economic sanctions to end upfront, Iranian journalist says

World powers will immediately lift economic and financial sanctions on Iran in the implementation phase of the nuclear accord, Abas Aslani, director of Iran’s Tansim agency, says.

In addition, a senior Iranian official on state TV hails the accord as “a good deal” for Tehran, Reuters reports.

Bennett says deal spawned a monster

Education Minister Naftali Bennett says on Twitter that the accord between Iran and world powers will spawn a “terror nuclear superpower.”

He pledges in response that Israel will not hesitate to defend itself.

Zarif hails deal as ‘new chapter of hope’

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tells reporters at a joint press conference with negotiators from world powers that the nuclear accord is “an important achievement,” that will enable all sides to turn a new leaf and move forward.

“[The deal] is an important achievement for all of us. Today could have been the end of hope on this issue. Today we are starting a new chapter of hope. Let’s consider this everybody’s achievement,” Zarif says, adding “this is a historic moment.”

“We are reaching an agreement that is not perfect for anybody,” Zarif adds.

According to a Channel 10 report, the accord is more than 100 pages long and contains multiple appendices.

The pact will be formally signed following the conference.

Iran nuke chief: Deal honors our red lines

Iranian state television is quoting Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the country’s nuclear program, as saying that the deal with world powers respects his country’s “red lines.”

He was quoted as saying: “After a roadmap was signed today with the (United Nations’ nuclear agency), all problems will be settled.”

Yukiya Amano, the head of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency, earlier said a roadmap had been signed between his agency and Iran. It calls for his agency, with Iran’s cooperation, to make an assessment of issues relating to possible military dimensions of the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program by the end of 2015.

— AP

Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, left, leaves the hotel following a bilateral meeting with US negotiators, among them US Secretary of State John Kerry, at a round of nuclear talks in Geneva, Switzerland, Monday, Feb. 23, 2015. (photo credit: AP Photo/Keystone, Salvatore Di Nolfi)

Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, left, leaves the hotel following a bilateral meeting with US negotiators, among them US Secretary of State John Kerry, at a round of nuclear talks in Geneva, Switzerland, Monday, Feb. 23, 2015. (photo credit: AP Photo/Keystone, Salvatore Di Nolfi)

Mogherini says deal opens ‘new chapter in international relations’

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini says: “What we have in front of us today … is the result of very hard work. … I’d like to thank all of us sitting around this table.”

She added: “It is a decision that can open the way to a new chapter in international relations. … I think this is a sign of hope for the entire world.”

Mogherini and Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif sat next to each other as photographers snapped images. Mogherini whispered at times to Zarif, smiling.

— AP

Iran state TV: Tehran can resume arms trade

Iran’s state news agency says that an arms embargo on Tehran will be lifted under the nuclear deal, and that from now, the Islamic Republic will be able to import and export weapons on a “case by case” basis.

In addition, sanctions on Iran’s central bank, national airline, shipping lines, national Iranian oil company, and many other institutions and people will be lifted under the deal, and billions of dollars of frozen assets will be released.

Furthermore, no atomic facilities will be dismantled under the deal.

“All of Iran’s nuclear facilities will continue working. None will be stopped or eliminated … Iran will continue enrichment … Research and development on key centrifuges (IR6, IR-5, IR4, IR 8) will continue,” IRNA says, referring to a summary of the deal it obtained.

Final meeting of ministers starts in Vienna

Iran and six world powers begin a final meeting in Vienna, ahead of an expected formal announcement of a deal which will see Tehran scale down its nuclear activities in exchange for relief from sanctions.

The ministerial meeting is being chaired by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

Federica Mogherini ,High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, gestures from the balcony of the Palais Coburg Hotel located at Theodor Herzl square where the Iran nuclear talks meetings are being held in Vienna, Austria on July 13, 2015. (AFP/JOE KLAMAR)

Federica Mogherini ,High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, gestures from the balcony of the Palais Coburg Hotel located at Theodor Herzl square in Vienna, Austria on July 13, 2015. (AFP/JOE KLAMAR)

Rouhani says deal will end Iran’s ‘exclusion and coercion’

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says the nuclear deal signed between Tehran and world powers will end Iran’s “exclusion and coercion” on the world stage.

The deal is a “victory of diplomacy and mutual respect over outdated paradigm of exclusion and coercion. This will be good beginning,” Rouhani writes on Twitter.

It “shows [that] constructive engagement works. With this unnecessary crisis resolved, new horizons emerge with a focus on shared challenges,” adds.

Rouhani is expected to address the Iranian people on state TV after the accord is formally signed, state news agency IRNA reports.

‘Limitations on enrichment will last 8 years’

Under the nuclear deal, restraints placed on Iranian nuclear enrichment will be lifted after eight years, chief of Iran’s Tansim news agency, Abas Aslani, reported.

In addition, Tehran will be able to continue enriching uranium at 3.67% for 15 years, and to that effect will be able to keep 6,104 centrifuges running, 1,044 of them at the secretive nuclear site of Fordo.

Lapid: Iran will build nukes with world’s help

Yesh Atid party chief Yair Lapid says that the deal means the world will be assisting Tehran to assemble nuclear weapons.

“We thought it was a bad deal, but it is in fact a terrible deal. This agreement allows Iran to continue developing nuclear weapons, only this time with the help of the international community,” Lapid says.

“Ask yourself one question. If everyone believes that the Iranians will fulfill their part of the agreement, how come they were so opposed to the idea of ​​snap inspections? And why is it that the Americans and the P5+1 have agreed that there will be no ​​snap inspections? If the Iranians intended to be trustworthy, they would have approved and even encouraged unannounced inspections — because that could have been a way of showing the world that they intend to stand by the agreement — but they don’t,” he continues.

“Now, after signing the agreement, [the Iranian regime] will continue doing what they have done for the past 20 years — try to acquire nuclear weapons behind the world’s back. Only now, the Iranians will do it with the help of the international community. Lifting the sanctions means that the Iranians will have more money and more capabilities to advance their nuclear facilities,” Lapid concludes.

Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid speaks at a party meeting at the Knesset on June 1, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid at a party meeting at the Knesset, June 1, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

EU says nuclear deal formally clinched

The Iran nuclear deal has been formally concluded, the European Union’s Federica Mogherini says according to AFP, as the final plenary meeting between Iran and six world powers concludes in Vienna.

Ya’alon laments ‘tragedy’ of Iran nuke deal

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon calls the nuclear accord between Iran and the world powers a “tragedy” that will enable Tehran to break through – at will – to full nuclear weapon capacity at any time.

“The agreement that was signed today between the world powers and Iran is built on lies and deceit. Iran, which arrived at the negotiating table in a weak position, has emerged victorious. Instead of fighting terror with all its might, the free world has granted legitimacy to Iran’s hateful, murderous ways. This agreement is a tragedy for all who aspire for regional stability and fear a nuclear Iran,” Ya’alon says.

According to Ya’alon, the agreement will enable Iran to solidify its sub-nuclear position, leaving it with a “zero breakout time” ability. At that point, there is “no one who can stop them,” Ya’alon says.

After sanctions are lifted, “massive funds will be funneled into the Iranian terror accounts,” leaving the Islamic republic in a “stronger position to accelerate its regional and global [hegemony] … [which] include efforts to develop-long range missiles that target far beyond the Middle East.”

“This agreement is bad. It rewards deceit, terror and war-mongering. The mere thought of reaccepting the chief terrorist regime into the family of nations is beyond belief,” he concludes.

Israeli Minister of Defense Moshe Ya'alon arrives to the weekly cabinet meeting at PM Netanyahu's office in Jerusalem on February 08, 2015. (Alex Kolomoisky/POOL)

Minister of Defense Moshe Ya’alon arrives at the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on February 08, 2015. (Alex Kolomoisky/POOL)

Full text of deal from Russian Foreign Ministry

Buzzfeed reports the full text of the nuclear agreement has been posted on the Russian Foreign Ministry website.

The document runs to 159 pages. Among the highlights is a paragraph committing Iran to only use its nuclear program for peaceful purposes, and a clause saying that enrichment will be curbed for eight years.

Previous reports had spoken of enrichment curbs for 10 to 15 years.

The text is unconfirmed so far.

Israel to try to sink deal in US Congress

Israel’s first course of action looks to be an intense lobbying effort in the US Congress to oppose the deal. Netanyahu spoke against the emerging deal before a joint session of Congress in March. Yet despite strong support among Republicans in Congress, there is little that can be done now.

The Senate can weigh in on the agreement but can’t kill it, because Obama doesn’t need congressional approval for a multinational deal that is not designated a treaty.

Lawmakers have 60 days to review the agreement, during which Obama can’t ease penalties on Iran. Only if lawmakers were to build a veto-proof majority behind new legislation enacting new sanctions or preventing Obama from suspending existing ones, the administration would be prevented from living up to the accord.

— AP

Iranian official: Iran will accept ‘managed’ access to military sites

Iran has accepted allowing the UN atomic watchdog tightly controlled “managed access” to military bases as part of the historic nuclear accord with major powers, an Iranian official said.

Allowing visits to military bases to probe any suspicious nuclear activity was a key demand for major powers, but Tehran was deeply uneasy because of fears the inspections were a front for spying on military secrets.

“Our military sites are not open to visitors since every country has the right to protect its secrets… However Iran will apply the Addition Protocol (to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) and on this basis allow managed access,” the official said.

— AFP

Israel received official copy of nuke deal

Israel has received an official copy of the nuclear deal reached between Iran and world powers, a senior official in Jerusalem says, as quoted by Haaretz.

The Prime Minister’s Office, the Foreign Ministry and the Defense Ministry have already begun to study the material.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will hold consultations later in the day.

EU’s Mogherini: This is a good deal

A press conference of top diplomats from Iran and world powers begins in Vienna to finally confirm the nuclear deal has been reached.

EU foreign policy head Federica Mogherini says in English that the Iran deal is “a good deal, a good deal for all sides and the international community.”

“Today is an historic day. It is a great honor for us that we have reached an agreement. With courage, political will and leadership, we have delivered on the what the world was hoping for.”

“No one ever thought it would be easy. Historic descisions never are,” she says.

“Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances that under no circumstances will it seek, acquire or develop nuclear weapons,” she adds.”These documents are detailed and specific. All sides want clarity to assure the full and effective implementation of the agreement.”

“It is a balanced deal that respects the interest of all sides.”

The statement is then repeated by Iran Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif in Persian.

Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy arrives for the last plenary session at the United Nations building in Vienna, Austria July 14, 2015. (Joe Klamar/AFP)

Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy arrives for the last plenary session at the United Nations building in Vienna, Austria July 14, 2015. (Joe Klamar/AFP)

Zarif says Tehran will never seek nuclear weapons

Zarif delivers a direct translation of Mogherini’s speech:

“Iran states that it will never seek to create military nuclear weapons. We will not do that today or in the future,” Zarif says.

“It is not just an agreement. It is a satisfactory agreement, a fair agreement,” he adds.

Obama: I will veto any attempt to sink deal

US President Barack Obama says that he will veto “any legislation” passed by Congress that stands against nuclear deal with Iran.

“I will veto any legislation that prevents the successful implementation of this deal,” Obama says.

“Every pathway to a nuclear weapon is cut off. The international community will be able to verify that the Islamic Republic of Iran will not achieve a nuclear weapon,” he adds.

According to Obama, the deal ensures that “Iran will not produce … the material necessary for a nuclear bomb,” and that even though it currently has a uranium stockpile that can produce 10 nuclear weapons, the accord will ensure that the stockpile will be shipped abroad.

“This agreement is not built on trust, it is built on verification. Inspectors will have 24/7 access to Iran’s key nuclear sites,” Obama says.

“If Iran violates the deal, all the sanctions will snap back into place. Iran must complete key nuclear steps before it receives new sanctions relief,” he adds.

According to Obama, the lack of an agreement with Iran would encourage other countries in the Middle East to seek their own nuclear weapons.

“Consider what happens in a world without this deal. Without this deal there would be no agreed upon limitations on Iran’s nuclear program. No deal mean no lasting constraints on Iran’s nuclear program. Such a scenario would make it more likely that other continues would begin their own nuclear programs,” Obama says, adding that such a prospect would fuel an arms race in “one of the most volatile regions of the world.”

“No deal means a greater chance of more war in the Middle East,” he says.

Obama also notes that if a deal is violated, future US presidents would have “the same options” available to them as are currently available to him.

“Our national security interests depend on preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” he adds.

Rouhani: Deal is ‘good news’ for Iran

Speaking right after Obama, but from Tehran, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani hails the deal as “good news” for the Iranian people and as painting a “rosier picture” of the future.

“We have had to deal with major problems in our relations with other countries,” he says. “Today we can say this has changed, a new chapter has opened, this is a new age being written and a different approach,” he says, according to a France 24 translation.

“It is possible to solve solution more peacefully when we cooperate,” he adds.

He adds that Iran’s nuclear program is for peaceful purposes and has become a source of pride for the country.

 

Joint List lauds deal, pans PM for opposing it

Israel’s Arab party excoriates Netanyahu for standing against an accord with Iran over its nuclear program.

“Netanyahu’s aggressive rhetoric of incitement and hostility against the Iran deal under the pretext of the ‘Iranian threat’ are indicative of his imperialist and colonialist outlook,” a statement by the Joint (Arab) List reads.

“Israel is the only country that continues to refuse to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty,” the statement continues, adding that Israel’s nuclear site should also be subject to inspections.

The statement also praises the nuclear deal as “the victory of the will of the Iranian people in their struggle against the blockade and sanctions imposed on them.”

Kerry: This is the good deal we sought

US Secretary of State John Kerry says the Iran deal he spent the last 19 days negotiating in Vienna is “the good deal that we sought.”

“We were determined to get this right and I believe our persistence paid off,” Kerry tells reporters at a news conference in Vienna, adding that the agreement marked a historic day.

On crutches and still nursing a broken leg, Kerry also jokes that Tuesday was a historic day for him personally because it was the first time in six weeks he had worn a pair of shoes.

— AP

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (2ndR),German Minister for Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier (2ndL), Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond (L), US Secretary of State John Kerry (C) and Austria's Foreign minister Sebastian Kurz (R) talk prior to their final plenary meeting at the United Nations building in Vienna, Austria July 14, 2015. (Joe Klamar/AFP)

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (2ndR),German Minister for Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier (2ndL), Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond (L), US Secretary of State John Kerry (C) and Austria’s Foreign minister Sebastian Kurz (R) talk prior to their final plenary meeting at the United Nations building in Vienna, Austria July 14, 2015. (Joe Klamar/AFP)

Rouhani: Today world powers recognize Iran’s nuclear program

Rouhani says that “today major world powers recognized Iran’s nuclear program.

“Today, we are at an important juncture in the history of our country and our revolution and the situation in the region,” he says, adding that “Iran will honor the agreement, if the other sides abide by it.”

Rouhani notes that the pact is a “win-win agreement” and that the sanctions regime was “never successful” in affecting Iran’s nuclear program and only affected ordinary people.

“A new page has been turned and a new chapter has begun,” he said, adding the deal will be a “starting point” for trust between Tehran and the world.

Hailing deal, Rouhani slams ‘usurper Zionist regime’

Toward the end of an address to the the Iranian people on state television, Rouhani takes a jab at Israel, saying that the Jewish state had “failed” in its attempts to stop the country’s nuclear project.

“Today people in Lebanon and Palestine are happy because Zionists have tried to block this deal but failed,” Rouhani says.

“Do not be deceived by the propaganda of the usurper Zionist regime,” he notes, adding that “the Zionist state has failed in its efforts” to obstruct the deal and Iran’s nuclear program.

AJCongress still ‘concerned’ about Iran threat

American Jewish Congress president Jack Rosen says that he remains “concerned” about Iran’s nuclear program regardless of the nuclear deal.

“While we appreciate the diplomatic efforts made by President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and the negotiating team, we remain concerned about the threat of a nuclear Iran in the relatively near future, and its undiminished capacity to support violence in the region,” Rosen writes in a statement.

He calls on Congress to scrutinize and debate the deal: “The American people expect the United States Congress to engage in a robust, thorough review of this deal, and to provide its own assessment regarding the agreement’s impact on the security of the United States, its regional allies and the entire world.”

Obama says he shares Israel’s security concerns

During his address on the Iran deal, Obama says that he “shares” Israel’s fears and that he will continue to make unprecedented efforts to strengthen Israel’s security.

“We share the concerns expressed by many of our friends in the Middle East including Israel and the Gulf States about Iran’s support for terrorism and its use of proxies to destabilize the region,” Obama says.

“We will continue our unprecedented efforts to strengthen Israel’s security, efforts that go beyond what any American administration has done before. And we continue the work we began at Camp David to elevate our partnership with the Gulf states to strengthen their capabilities to counter threats from Iran or terrorist groups like ISIL,” he says, referring to the Islamic State terror group.

“However we must continue to test whether this region, which has had so much suffering, so much bloodshed, can move in a different direction,” he concludes, adding that “Iran with a nuclear weapon will be far more destabilizing and far more dangerous to our friends and to the world.”

Obama’s comments on Israel start at 10:25

Syria’s Assad congratulates Iran

Syrian President Bashar Assad congratulated key ally Iran on reaching a nuclear deal with world powers on Tuesday, calling the agreement a “great victory,” AFP reports.

In a message to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Assad said he was “happy that the Islamic Republic of Iran has achieved a great victory by reaching an agreement,” state news agency SANA reported.

Syrian President Bashar Assad gives an interview to US Foreign Affairs magazine in Damascus, January 26, 2015 (AFP)

Syrian President Bashar Assad gives an interview to US Foreign Affairs magazine in Damascus, January 26, 2015 (AFP)

“In the name of the Syrian people, I congratulate you and the people of Iran on this historic achievement,” he added in another message addressed to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Assad congratulated Tehran on the deal, which he said would be a “major turning point in the history of Iran, the region and the world.”

He added that it provided “clear recognition on the part of world powers of the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program, while preserving the national rights of your people and confirming the sovereignty of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Syria’s foreign ministry also welcomed the agreement, which it said underlined “the importance of adopting diplomacy and political solutions to resolve international disagreements.”

Tehran is a longstanding ally of Damascus and has remained so since Syria’s uprising began in March 2011.

— AFP

Iran deal will bring ‘regional stability’, Iraqi official says

The spokesman for Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi says the nuclear deal announced Tuesday between Iran and world powers in Vienna will be “a catalyst for regional stability.”

Saad al-Hadithi tells The Associated Press that the landmark agreement, designed to avert the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, is “an important step” and will lead to better unity in the fight against terrorism.

Despite their shared interests in defeating the Islamic State group, a US-led coalition has not worked directly with Iran, Iraq’s biggest ally, even as negotiations were underway in Vienna.

— AP

UK vows to support Gulf states

Britain’s Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond says the deal with Iran will impose strict limits and inspections on its nuclear program.

Hammond says in a statement that world leaders recognize that there will be concerns in the region.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond addresses the media in front of the Palais Coburg Hotel, venue of the nuclear talks in Vienna, Austria on July 2, 2015. (AFP PHOTO / SAMUEL KUBANI)

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond addresses the media in front of the Palais Coburg Hotel, venue of the nuclear talks in Vienna, Austria on July 2, 2015. (AFP PHOTO / SAMUEL KUBANI)

“We will maintain our clear position in support of the Gulf states and against Iranian interference in their internal affairs,” he said.

He also notes that granting the International Atomic Energy Agency access to verify Iran’s adherence to the agreement will provide confidence that its nuclear program is peaceful.

Hammond said he hopes and expects that the agreement will herald change in Iran’s relations with its regional neighbors and the world. He said Iran will be encouraged to play a constructive role, “particularly in the struggle against violent Islamist extremism.”

— AP

UK’s Cameron: Deal makes world ‘a safer place’

Britain’s Prime Minister, David Cameron, described the deal with Iran as historic, saying it “secures our fundamental aim — to keep Iran from developing a nuclear weapon — and that will help to make our world a safer place.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron on June 26, 2015 (Alain Jocard/AFP)

British Prime Minister David Cameron on June 26, 2015 (Alain Jocard/AFP)

He said the deal required leadership, courage and determination and that it was time to move forward and put it into place.

Cameron said Iran will reap economic benefits, so long as it delivers on everything it has agreed to do.

— AP

Putin: World heaves ‘sigh of relief’

Russian President Vladimir Putin says Russia looks forward to “peaceful” nuclear cooperation with Iran following the signing of today’s accord.

“Iran gets the opportunity to develop this program, including uranium enrichment, under IAEA control and with the gradual lifting of sanctions imposed against Tehran, something we have long called for,” Putin says in a statement posted on the Kremlin website.

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, June 24, 2015. (AP/Sergei Karpukhin, Pool)

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, June 24, 2015. (AP/Sergei Karpukhin, Pool)

“We are certain that the world heaved a sigh of relief today,” he adds.

Putin says that Russia will do everything in its power to ensure that the Middle East remain free of weapons of mass destruction.

“The Russian negotiating team and nuclear experts have made a significant expert contribution to the drafting of the comprehensive arrangements, which made it possible to align the different, often opposing views,” Putin says, adding that he looks forward to “large-scale plans of peaceful nuclear cooperation between Russia and Iran.”

“Our bilateral relations with Iran will receive a new impetus and will no longer be influenced by external factors,” he concludes.

US House speaker says deal will fuel nuke race

The nuclear deal announced by world powers reining in Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief will only “embolden” Tehran and trigger an atomic weapons race, House Speaker John Boehner said.

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio speaks during a news conference on Capitol in Washington, Thursday, March 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio speaks during a news conference on Capitol in Washington, Thursday, March 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)

“Instead of stopping the spread of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, this deal is likely to fuel a nuclear arms race around the world,” said the Republican Boehner in a statement, adding that US lawmakers will “review every detail of this agreement very closely.”

Republican candidate Marco Rubio says deal threatens Israel

US Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio says the Iran deal threatens Israel and leaves Tehran with the ability to produce an atomic bomb.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, December 2014. If he runs for president as expected, Rubio will have a political committee ready to raise and spend unlimited cash on his behalf. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, December 2014. If he runs for president as expected, Rubio will have a political committee ready to raise and spend unlimited cash on his behalf. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

“I have said from the beginning of this process that I would not support a deal with Iran that allows the mullahs to retain the ability to develop nuclear weapons, threaten Israel, and continue their regional expansionism and support for terrorism,” Rubio says in a statement, as quoted by Reuters.

“Based on what we know thus far, I believe that this deal undermines our national security.”

Rouhani, cabinet to join supreme leader for iftar tonight

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei will meet with President Hassan Rouhani and members of the cabinet, Tasnim news agency reports.

An Iranian official says that the meeting will take place during an iftar meal to break the Ramadan fast.

World Jewish Congress fears ‘disastrous consequences’

World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder in a statement pointed out that Iran has failed in the past to live up to its treaty obligations.

“I fear we may have entered into an agreement that revives the Iranian economy but won’t stop this regime from developing nuclear arms in the long term, which would have disastrous consequences for the entire region and the world,” he said, calling the agreement “just a piece of paper” and “not a legally binding treaty.”

— JTA

US group Jewish Voices for Peace applauds deal, slams Israeli leadership

Leftist US group Jewish Voices for Peace says in an statement that Israel’s leadership and AIPAC have “inflamed” fears of Iran’s nuclear project, and that a negotiated deal is the “only way” to avert a war with Iran.

“[We] strongly support the negotiated deal between world powers and Iran, and we believe that a negotiated agreement is the only way to alleviate international concern about Iran’s nuclear program and avert war,” the statement reads.

“Opponents of the deal, including AIPAC and Israeli leadership, have inflamed fears of Iran’s nuclear program, despite the fact that Israel has developed and maintained nuclear weapons without adhering to international treaties. Diplomacy is crucial to achieving a nuclear-free Middle East, and that includes Israel as well as Iran,” it continues.

Sirens sound in Jewish towns near Gaza

Hours after the signing of a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, code red alert sirens sounded in communities surrounding the Gaza Strip, Channel 2 reports.

The sirens were not caused by rocket fire, but were in fact, false alarms.

The sirens sounded in Sha’ar Hanegev regional council bordering the strip along with the cities of Ashdod, Ashkelon, Be’er Tuvia and Yavne, further off afield.

France’s Hollande says world must be ‘extremely vigilant’

French President Francois Hollande says that world powers must be “vigiliant” vis-a-vis Iran, during a Bastille Day speech in which he praised today’s landmark nuclear agreement, AP reports.

“Now Iran has a bigger financial capacity, we need to be extremely vigilant on what Iran will be,” Hollande says in the televised speech.

French President Francois Hollande waits for the Tunisian President on April 7, 2015 at the Elysee palace in Paris. (photo credit: AFP / THOMAS SAMSON)

French President Francois Hollande waits for the Tunisian President on April 7, 2015 at the Elysee palace in Paris. (photo credit: AFP / THOMAS SAMSON)

He also calls on Iran for help in the Syrian conflict.

The deal shows the “world is moving forward” and that “Iran must show that it is ready to help us end the (Syrian) conflict,” Hollande says.

But he also notes that world powers must carefully watch how Iran uses the billions of dollars in relief from international sanctions it gets in exchange for curbing its nuclear program.

Meanwhile, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told newspaper Le Monde that the Iran deal was “sufficiently robust” to last 10 years.

Hillary Clinton applauds Iran deal

Democrat presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton endorses the Iran deal, American news website VOX reports.

“[Clinton] applauds the effort and the result,” a Democrat party official says.

She also blames the Republicans for ignoring Iran’s nuclear advancements during the George W. Bush presidency.

Democrats tentatively congratulate Obama while skeptical

Democrats in the US Congress are expressing skepticism about the deal that President Barack Obama and Western powers reached with Iran.

Shortly after announcement of the agreement Tuesday, members of Obama’s party cautiously congratulated his effort but said they would review the deal closely in coming weeks.

Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut said he would examine the deal to ensure it “adequately protects the interests” of the United States and its allies.

Congress is likely to vote in September on whether to approve or disapprove the deal, though Obama has extensive executive powers to end sanctions on Iran.

Republicans vehemently criticized the deal, as was widely expected. Speaker John Boehner said Obama had abandoned his own goals and the deal would likely fuel a nuclear arms race around the world.

–AP

Vatican views pact in ‘positive light’

The Vatican welcomes the agreement on Iran’s nuclear program and expressed hope that the progress would extend to other areas, AP reports.

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi told journalists the agreement “is viewed in a positive light by the Holy See” and noted that continued efforts “on the part of all involved will be necessary in order for it to bear fruit.”

Lombardi said that “it is hoped that those fruits will not be limited” to the nuclear program alone.

— AP

Obama will telephone Netanyahu today

Channel 2 reports that President Barack Obama will contact Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later today to discuss the Iranian nuclear deal that was signed in Vienna.

Netanyahu says Israel ‘not bound’ by Iran deal

In a conference for foreign press in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calls the Iran nuclear deal a “stunning historic mistake” and says that Israel will not adhere to the agreement and will not hesitate to defend itself if necessary.

“Israel is not bound by this deal with Iran, because Iran continues to seek our destruction,” Netanyahu says, adding that “we will always defend ourselves.”

Netanyahu calls the Iranian regime “the foremost sponsor of international terrorism,” and attacks the accord for “gambling that in ten years time Iran’s terrorist regime can change, without removing any incentive for it to do so.”

“In the coming decade, the deal will reward Iran with hundreds of billions of dollars. This cash bonanza will fuel its terrorism worldwide … and its efforts to destroy Israel which are ongoing. [The deal] doesn’t require [Iran] to cease its aggression in any way.”

The deal “repeats the mistake of North Korea,” the premier continues, noting how the world “attempted to prevent a rogue regime from acquiring nuclear weapons” but failed. “We all know what happened there,” he chimes.

“By not dismantling Iran’s nuclear program, this deal will give an unreformed, unrepentant regime the ability to produce an arsenal of nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu says.

Netnayahu recounts how last Friday Rouhani attended an al-Quds day rally in Tehran where “a frenzied mob burned Israeli and American flags.”

“Now this didn’t happen four years ago, it happened four days ago,” he says, adding that Iran’s “aggression was on display for everyone to see.”

Netanyahu continues: “Iran’s supreme leader says that the deal does not limit Iran’s aggression in any way, that negotiations with the US are on the nuclear issue and nothing else. ‘The US embodies global arrogance, and the struggle against it continues,’ [Khameni says].”

This deal is a “stunning historic mistake,” he concludes.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the foreign press regarding the nuclear deal with Iran (screen capture: Channel 2)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the foreign press regarding the nuclear deal with Iran (screen capture: Channel 2)

J Street welcomes deal, urges Congress to support it

US Jewish Israel advocacy group J Street says in a statement that it welcomes the Iran deal and will lobby Congress to ratify it.

“J Street welcomes news of the agreement struck today by the United States and its international partners with Iran,” a statement reads.

“Following our own review of the agreement, we expect to call on Congress to support the deal as the best—if not only—means of ensuring that Iran does not develop nuclear weapons,” it continues, adding that it “congratulates” President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry for their patience and resolve in signing the agreement.

White House infographics try to explain how deal will stop Iranian bomb

The White House releases two images on Twitter, describing superficially how the nuclear accord signed with Iran is supposed to prevent Tehran from procuring an atomic missile.

ADL ‘deeply disappointed’ by deal

The Anti-Defamation League says in a statement that the nuclear deal with Iran “falls far short” of preventing the Islamic Republic from becoming a nuclear-weapons state.

“We are deeply disappointed by the terms of the final deal with Iran announced today which seem to fall far short of the President’s objective of preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear weapon state. The thrust of the deal relies entirely on Iran’s good faith and the ability of the IAEA to effectively carry out its inspection obligations,” the statement reads.

The ADL's Abe Foxman. (photo credit: Courtesy Shilo Productions)

The ADL’s Abe Foxman (Courtesy Shilo Productions)

“At best, if Iran fully complies with the terms of the [the deal], its nuclear weapons ambitions will be deferred during the 10 to 15 year term of most restrictions. At worst, in the view of many highly respected experts Iran will continue to clandestinely pursue illicit activities, like weaponization research,” the statement continues.

“At the same time, serious questions remain about whether the agreed inspection regime will deter or catch Iranian cheating. Meanwhile, the front-end loaded infusion of billions of dollars in sanctions relief will finance Iran’s ongoing global campaign of terror against Israel and other US allies, and be used to further exert its influence across the Middle East thereby harming U.S. interests,” it adds.

The statement is issued by National Chair Barry Curtiss-Lusher and National Director Abraham H. Foxman.

US Jewish group B’nai B’rith ‘deeply concerned’

Jewish group B’nai B’rith says in a statement that it is skeptical that Iran will adhere to its portion of the nuclear deal signed today:

The just-announced deal on Iran’s nuclear program has not erased the deep concern we have about Iran’s true intentions for its nuclear program.

It is impossible to look at Iran’s track record in so many areas and not be skeptical about Iran adhering to the terms of the deal. In the days leading up to the agreement, on “al-Quds Day,” government inspired crowds called for “death to America,” and U.S. and Israeli flags were burned across the country.

The fact that verification has been a sticking point throughout this process is highly revealing. We fear that inspectors will never get managed, unfettered or spontaneous access, because Iran has consistently rejected this point all along.

Congress needs to ask tough questions about inspections, plutonium enrichment and sanctions relief, including Iran’s demand to immediately begin acquiring conventional weapons. If upon inspecting the details, Congress discovers the agreement proves unsatisfactory on crucial issues, then Congress should reject the deal.

Former intel chief: ‘We should get written protection from Obama’

Former head of military intelligence, Amos Yadlin, tells Channel 2 news that Israel should seek a written agreement with President Barack Obama to ensure his support from a security standpoint.

“We have to push for Obama to turn his verbal support for us into a [written] agreement,” Yadlin says.

UN envoy: Iran sanctions must be lifted as they harm human rights

A United Nations human rights representative says the sanctions imposed on Iran have had an “adverse effect” on human rights in the country.

“The stockpiling of sanctions and unilateral coercive measures against Iran… went well beyond what was required by the UN Security Council,” says Algerian-born Idriss Jazairy, the UN’s special rapporteur for human rights and international sanctions.

The sanctions have had “a significant adverse effect on the country’s economy, its population and ultimately on the enjoyment of human rights of the people of Iran, including its right to food, its right to health and its right to development,” Jazairy says in a statement in Geneva, as quoted by Reuters.

Channel 2: PM rebuffed Obama offer for Israel role in nuke site inspections

Channel 2 political correspondent Amnon Abramovich claims President Barack Obama had offered Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu an Israeli role in establishing an ongoing inspections regime in Iran, in return for toning down his criticism of the nuclear deal.

Netanyahu refused, Abramovich said.

Ordinary Iranians welcome deal

Ordinary Iranians are welcoming the country’s historic nuclear deal, embracing it as a chance to end their nation’s isolation and an opportunity for a better economy after years of stifling sanctions.

There are no signs of people pouring into the streets of Tehran after the deal was announced on Tuesday, but that may have more to do with the stifling summer heat and the fact that most Iranians are fasting during the last days of Ramadan.

Many instead were glued to television coverage of the deal. At one Tehran electronics shop, people clapped as President Hassan Rouhani appeared on screen to address the nation.

Shopkeeper Ali Hosseini summed up the mood by saying: “I am proud that my country has resolved this critical issue through talks, not war.”

–AP

Wife of retired FBI agent said to be held in Iran asks Obama for help

The family of retired FBI agent Robert Levinson, who is believed to be held hostage in Iran, is marking the historic nuclear deal by urging the Obama administration and Iran to continue to press for Levinson’s release.

Levinson’s wife, Christine, said leaders of the two countries “need to continue working together with the same sense of urgency to resolve Bob’s case and return him home to his family as soon as possible.”

Levinson has been held hostage for more than eight years, making him the longest-held American hostage in history. His wife said, “This nightmare must end.”

An Associated Press investigation published in 2013 revealed that Levinson vanished while working for the CIA on an unapproved intelligence-gathering mission.

–AP

Republican Chris Christie says Obama ‘playing a dangerous game’

Republican presidential contender Chris Christie hopes Congress will reject the Iran nuclear deal, AP reports.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks at the Third Annual Champions of Jewish Values International Awards Gala, Thursday, May 28, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks at the Third Annual Champions of Jewish Values International Awards Gala, Thursday, May 28, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

The New Jersey governor says the deal will lead to a nuclear Iran and Middle East, threatens Israel and the US, and “turns 70 years of nuclear policy on its head.”

Christie says President Barack Obama’s team should have walked away from the talks. Instead, says the governor, Obama is “playing a dangerous game with our national security.”

–AP

Zarif: Iran not obligated to honor deal if other party breaks it

Iran’s Foreign Minister Muhamad Javad Zarif says in a press conference that Iran will not be bound to the nuclear accord if the world powers fail to uphold their end of the deal.

“If a party doesn’t keep to its commitments, the other party can refrain from what it has agreed to do,” Zarif says, in remarks translated by Iranian journalist Abas Aslani, head of Iran’s Tasnim News Agency.

“The deal today is the result of years of resistance and negotiations. It has important achievements for Iran. Once United Nations Security Council endorses [the deal], it will be finalized,” Zarif says.

“What is important now is that all of us are now committed to implementing the deal. The timing of the lifting of the sanctions is up to how much time the measurements of both sides will take. Limitation for research and development on enrichment will be for 8 years. Iran’s nuclear case will be closed in Security Council after 10 years,” he adds.

“Iran has always kept to its international commitments. You cannot find any example of Iran not keeping to its commitments. One of the reasons that caused speeding up the process in last days was that [Russian FM Sergei] Lavrov wanted to depart for another place,” Zarif concludes.

Republican contender Jeb Bush calls Iran deal ‘appeasement’

Republican presidential contender Jeb Bush calls the Iran nuclear deal “dangerous, deeply flawed and shortsighted.”

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks during the Iowa Republican Party's Lincoln Dinner, Saturday, May 16, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush speaks during the Iowa Republican Party’s Lincoln Dinner, Saturday, May 16, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

“The people of Iran, the region, Israel, America and the world deserve better than a deal that consolidates the grip on power of the violent revolutionary clerics who rule Tehran with an iron fist,” Bush says in a statement.

The agreement is not diplomacy, Bush says, but “appeasement.”

US general: Removing sanctions will let Iran fund more terror

A top US air force general, Paul J. Selva, says that repealing economic sanctions on Iran will give it the financial ability to fund more terrorism and terror groups, if it chooses to do so.

“We need to have a range of available options with which to respond” to possible threats from Iran, Selva says, as quoted by US magazine Politico.

In phone call, PM tells Obama that Iran can get bomb by sticking to deal

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama hold a phone call concerning the signing of today’s nuclear accord between Iran and the world powers.

During the call, Netanyahu expresses Israel’s deep worries relating to the deal, and two concerns in particular: that the deal enables Iran to produce a nuclear weapon after 10-15 years just by sticking to the terms of the deal, and that Iran can easily acquire atomic weapons by simply breaking the deal.

Netanyahu also says he is concerned that Tehran will now have the ability to pump billions of dollars into its terror machine, which threatens not only Israel, but also the entire world.

Kerry: We are taking Israel’s anxieties into account

US Secretary of State John Kerry says that during negotiations, he took Israel’s security concerns into account.

“From the very beginning of this process, we have considered not only our own security concerns, but also the serious and legitimate anxieties of our friends and our allies in the region, especially Israel and the Gulf States. And that has certainly been the case in recent days, as we worked to hammer out the final details,” Kerry says.

Clinton: As president, I would be ‘devoted’ to keeping Iran deal

Democrat presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton says that if elected, she would stand by the accord signed between world powers and Iran.

“As president I would be absolutely devoted to ensuring the agreement is followed,” Clinton says.

Bennett: If London or NY nuked, we will trace it to July 14, 2015

Education Minister and Jewish Home party chief Naftali Bennett goes on a media blitz to American and English stations.

He tells CNN: “If a nuclear bomb explodes in London or New York, we know that we can trace it down to July 14, 2015.”

Naftali Bennett, leader of the Jewish Home party speaks during a party meeting in the Israeli parliament on June 15, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Naftali Bennett, Jewish Home leader, speaks during a party meeting in the Israeli parliament on June 15, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

“This deal is a mistake of historic proportions. It effectively paves the way for Iran to become a terror nuclear superpower. The world is going to be funneling half a trillion dollars to the world’s biggest exporter of terror,” Bennett says.

Speaking to BBC, Bennett compares notifying Iran before nuclear facility inspections to notifying a drug dealer before a police raid.

“We keep on hearing its a verifiable sanction regime. In order to go and make an inspection you have to notify the Iranians 24 days in advance. That’s a farce! Of course within the 24 days they’re gonna clean up the facility, get away with the inspections and go on with what they do. Imagine a police station raiding a drug baron and giving him a month’s notice,” he says.

Kerry says Netanyahu’s reaction to nuke deal ‘over the top’

Responding to earlier remarks by Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu who dubbed the Iran deal “a stunning historic mistake,” US Secretary of State John Kerry says that the Israeli premier’s comments are “way over the top.”

US State Secretary John Kerry addresses a press conference of the Palais Coburg Hotel where the Iran nuclear talks meetings are being held in Vienna, Austria on July 9, 2015. (AFP/JOE KLAMAR)

US State Secretary John Kerry addresses a press conference of the Palais Coburg Hotel where the Iran nuclear talks meetings are being held in Vienna, Austria on July 9, 2015. (AFP/JOE KLAMAR)

“[Netanyahu] said the same thing about the interim agreement and he was wrong. The fact is, is that he’s frankly been making comments that are way over the top,” Kerry tells MSNBC.

“He doesn’t even know what the concessions are that we have not engaged in, because we haven’t made concessions,” Kerry says.

Channel 2 quotes a US source as saying that Netanyahu’s entreaties are falling on deaf ears.

“Nobody pays any heed to Netanyahu’s declarations; nobody is listening to him,” the source says.

Lebanese-Druze leader says Iran deal marks ‘end of the Arab world’

A leader of Druze community in Lebanon, Walid Jumblatt, says that the Iran deal marks “the end of the Arab world as we know it.”

The comments were translated by Channel 2 political analyst, Ehud Ya’ari.

Obama dispatches US defense chief, Ashton Cartner, to Israel

United States Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter will arrive in Israel next week to discuss the Iranian nuclear deal.

US President Barack Obama relays the news in a phone call with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israeli cabinet unanimously rejects Iran deal

Israel’s security cabinet has uniformly rejected the Iranian nuclear accord and agreed that Jerusalem will not be bound by the deal in any form.

“We unanimously reject the nuclear deal with Iran. Israel is not committed to the deal,” a statement by the cabinet read.

Iranians celebrate deal on the streets of Tehran

Iranians pour onto the streets of Tehran after the Ramadan fast ended at sundown Tuesday to celebrate the historic nuclear deal agreed earlier with world powers in Vienna, AFP reports.

Shortly after the end of the daytime fast, an AFP reporter saw hundreds of people taking to Tehran’s main thoroughfare, Valiye Asr, with cars sounding their horns.

Obama: Iran deal in Israel’s ‘security interest’

US President Barack Obama tells Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the freshly sealed Iran nuclear deal is in Israel’s “national security interest,” AFP reports.

“The president told the prime minister that today’s agreement on the nuclear issue will not diminish our concerns regarding Iran’s support for terrorism and threats toward Israel,” the White House said.

Russia’s Lavrov: Iran deal paves way for ‘broad’ coalition against IS

The Iran nuclear deal paves the way for a “broad” coalition to fight the Islamic State group, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says.

“It removes the barriers — largely artificial — on the way to a broad coalition to fight the Islamic State and other terrorist groups,” Lavrov says in a statement on the ministry’s website.

–AFP

Germany’s Merkel: Deal solves conflict through diplomacy

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives a statement in commemoration of the Germanwings plane crash victims, at the Chancellery in Berlin,  March 26, 2015. (photo credit: AFP/JOHN MACDOUGALL)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives a statement at the Chancellery in Berlin, March 26, 2015. (AFP/JOHN MACDOUGALL)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the agreement provides a “realistic chance of overcoming one of the most difficult international conflicts through diplomatic means” and brings much closer the goal of preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Germany is a party in the negotiations and its main business lobby is anticipating a surge in exports to Iran as economic sanctions lift.

–AP

UN Security Council gearing up to ratify nuke deal

At the United Nations, the Security Council is preparing a resolution to endorse the deal restricting Iran’s nuclear development in exchange for the lifting of sanctions against Tehran.

French Ambassador Francois Delattre says the draft resolution will be presented to the council in coming days.

A senior Security Council diplomat says the US took the lead in drafting the resolution. Asked whether it’s likely to be approved within seven to 10 days, the diplomat says that’s the “right ballpark.”

The diplomat was not authorized to be identified and spoke on condition of anonymity.

–AP

Infographic on Iran deal’s key points

IRAN_NUCLEAR_DEAL_Horo

— AP

Khamenei thanks negotiators for producing nuke deal

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei thanks Iran’s negotiators in Vienna for their work in achieving a nuclear accord with the world powers.

Khamenei made the statement during a post-fasting Ramadan meal with President Hassan Rouhani and the Iranian cabinet, according to the head of Iran’s Tasnim News Agency.

Israel Foreign Ministry says deal will spark a nuclear arms race

Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs releases a statement saying that the nuclear deal reached with Iran will “certainly” provoke a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

“Nuclear capabilities in the hands of Iran are a game changer that will certainly spark a nuclear arms race that will undermine regional security in the Middle East. This is a threat not only to Israel but also to the moderate countries in the Middle East and well beyond,” the statement reads.

“The agreement does not ensure a tight enough monitoring and verification mechanism. Iran has achieved its advanced nuclear capability covertly despite the IAEA’s safeguards mechanism, and will be able to continue deceiving, evading and concealing,” it continues.

Carter: we will bolster our allies’ security if necessary

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter says the US is prepared to bolster the security of its allies in the Middle East, using military means if necessary, to check what he calls Iran’s “malign influence” in the region.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter appears before the House Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill, June 17, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images/AFP)

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter appears before the House Armed Services Committee on Capitol Hill, June 17, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images/AFP)

His statement is intended to reassure allies nervous about the landmark deal reached with Iran to control its nuclear program. Israel is strongly opposed to it.

Carter says deterrence remains a major component of America’s national security and the US has tens of thousands of military personnel in the region to defend against any aggression, ensure freedom of navigation in the Gulf and make sure Iran’s influence is restricted.

— AP

Iranians said ready to give up falafel for Big Macs

Minutes after Iran and world powers announced their deal to curtail Iran’s nuclear ambitions in exchange for an easing of economic sanctions, a text message began making the rounds on Iranian mobile phones.

It read: “Goodbye falafel. Hello McDonald’s.”

Another text joked that the country’s ATMs would soon be dispensing US dollars instead of Iranian rials.

Tehran skyline (photo credit: CC BY kamshots/Flickr)

Tehran skyline (CC BY kamshots/Flickr)

There may not be a McDonald’s yet, but ordinary Iranians have been quick to welcome the deal as a chance to end their nation’s isolation and improve Iran’s economy after years of stifling sanctions.

There were no signs of people pouring into the streets of Tehran after the deal was announced, but that may have more to do with the stifling summer heat and the fact that most Iranians are fasting during the last days of Ramadan.

Many instead were glued to television coverage of the deal, which included a rare live feed of President Barack Obama’s address on state TV.

–AP

Smiling, Zarif snaps selfie on plane back to Iran

All smiles and surrounded by reporters, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif snaps a selfie on an Iran-bound plane at Vienna airport.

Gulf states say deal could turn ‘new page’ for the region

The United Arab Emirates Tuesday welcomes the historic nuclear deal agreed by world powers and Iran, with an official saying it could turn a “new page” for the Gulf region, AFP reports.

“Iran could play a [significant] role in the region if it revises its policy and stops interfering in the internal affairs of countries like Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen,” a UAE official said in the first reaction from the Gulf Arab monarchies to the Vienna accord.

“The new direction we hope to see accompany the historic nuclear deal would demonstrate a genuine desire for Iran to help extinguish fires devouring the region,” the official said.

“This would move the region away from the discord of sectarianism, extremism and terrorism.”

Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah sent cables to Iranian spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani congratulating them on the “historic agreement.”

He hoped that the deal “would contribute to strengthen peace and stability in the region and to direct all efforts for the development of the countries in the area.”

The UAE and the Islamic republic are in dispute over three small Gulf islands occupied by Iran, but the Sunni Muslim emirates still have good business relations with their Shiite neighbor.

Like its Gulf Cooperation Council partners, including Sunni powerhouse Saudi Arabia, the UAE has repeatedly expressed concern about Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

A change of path by Tehran would send a “positive signal that would help the region avoid nuclear proliferation and all the risks this would involve for its security and stability,” the Emirati official said.

“Without such a change, we cannot build anything positive, and this will have consequences on the region and its people.”

–AFP

World powers are betting on our future, Netanyahu says

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says following a cabinet meeting that the world powers have placed a gamble on their own future as well as Israel’s.

“The world’s leading powers are betting on our shared future in this deal with the foremost financier and operator of global terrorism. This is a historic mistake!” Netanyahu says.

“We were right when we said that the desire to sign the agreement was stronger than anything else, and therefore we did not commit to preventing it. Yes, we pledge to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons — and this commitment still stands,” he adds.

“The pressure we applied and the operations we carried out for years have stopped Iran from arming itself with nuclear weapons. I can say that without Israel’s actions, Iran would have long received nuclear arms,” he continues.

“We will continue to defend ourselves, by ourselves, against all who threaten to destroy us,” he concludes.

Israel jails Palestinian engineer for designing Hamas rockets

An Israeli court sentences a Palestinian engineer to 21 years in jail for helping the Islamist movement Hamas to improve the range of rockets used against the Jewish state.

Dirar Abu Sisi went missing in Ukraine in February 2011, and Israel said a month later that he was in its custody and would be put on trial.

A court in the southern city of Beersheba convicted Abu Sisi of several “crimes against the security of the state,” an official said.

In particular, he was said to have helped improve the range of the home-made Qassam rockets that the armed wing of the Islamist movement Hamas has repeatedly fired at Israel from the neighboring Gaza Strip over the years.

The rockets, produced in clandestine workshops that are often targeted by Israeli air strikes, can travel between 10 and 20 kilometres (six and 12 miles).

–AFP

Union for Reform Judaism undecided about nuke deal

A reform US Jewish umbrella group says it will wait and see how the Iran nuclear deal pans out before arriving at a decision on the matter. The Union for Reform Judaism says in a statement that it will release an opinion only after further consultation with “trusted experts”.

“In the coming days and weeks, we will go back to our trusted experts and continue to consult with our constituencies to better understand the consequences of this proposed agreement. We urge all committed parties to take similar, carefully considered approaches before rushing to conclusions,” the statement reads.

“As Congress moves forward, we will share our opinion on the viability of this agreement to achieve our goals, that the final agreement will put the optimal standard for restraints on Iran, preventing a nuclear-armed Iran, protecting the security of the United States, Israel and our allies around the world,” it continues.

Druze leader in Lebanon: Iran deal paved with ‘thousands’ of Syrian, Iraqi victims

A leader of the Druze community in Lebanon, Walid Jumblatt, says “the path towards the Iran deal was paved through thousands of victims in Syria and Iraq.”

Jumblatt makes the comments to Lebanese daily, An-Nahar.

Iran is helping the regimes of both countries against the rebels, directly and through proxies like Hezbollah, he adds, according to a translation posted on Lebanese English-language news aggregator, Ya Libnan.

US to submit draft of Iran deal to UN Security Council

The US ambassador to the United Nations says the United States will submit a draft resolution to the Security Council “in the coming days” to endorse the Iran nuclear deal and take other important steps.

Samantha Power says these steps include replacing existing Security Council sanctions resolutions with the new restrictions agreed on in the talks. She’s hoping for “timely adoption” of the resolution.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power talks during a previous Security Council meeting, on December 22, 2014 at the United Nations in New York. (Don Emmert/AFP)

US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power talks during a previous Security Council meeting, on December 22, 2014 at the United Nations in New York. (Don Emmert/AFP)

An annex to the agreement on Security Council actions states that provisions on Iran sanctions in seven resolutions dating back to 2006 will be terminated by the deal but subject to re-imposition if Iran doesn’t live up to the terms in significant ways.

The resolution is almost certain to be approved because the deal with Iran involves the five veto-wielding Security Council members — the US, Russia, China, Britain and France — and they have agreed on the text of the draft.

–AP

Obama to hold press conference on Iran deal tomorrow

US President Barack Obama will hold a press conference Wednesday as he attempts to convince Americans, skeptical lawmakers and allies about the benefits of a nuclear deal with Iran.

Obama will answer questions in the East Room of the White House, spokesman Josh Earnest said Tuesday.

–AFP

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US Jewish group B’nai B’rith ‘deeply concerned’

Jewish group B’nai B’rith says in a statement that it is skeptical that Iran will adhere to its portion of the nuclear deal signed today:

The just-announced deal on Iran’s nuclear program has not erased the deep concern we have about Iran’s true intentions for its nuclear program.

It is impossible to look at Iran’s track record in so many areas and not be skeptical about Iran adhering to the terms of the deal. In the days leading up to the agreement, on “al-Quds Day,” government inspired crowds called for “death to America,” and U.S. and Israeli flags were burned across the country.

The fact that verification has been a sticking point throughout this process is highly revealing. We fear that inspectors will never get managed, unfettered or spontaneous access, because Iran has consistently rejected this point all along.

Congress needs to ask tough questions about inspections, plutonium enrichment and sanctions relief, including Iran’s demand to immediately begin acquiring conventional weapons. If upon inspecting the details, Congress discovers the agreement proves unsatisfactory on crucial issues, then Congress should reject the deal.