Poll: Israelis overwhelmingly certain Iran still wants nukes
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Only 10 percent of Israelis trust the US to thwart Tehran's ambitions

Poll: Israelis overwhelmingly certain Iran still wants nukes

Post-deal survey finds 70% of Israelis oppose nuclear agreement, and one-third support strike on Iranian military facilities

Adiv Sterman is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

An Iranian man flashes the victory sign as an other holds the Iranian national flag during celebration in northern Tehran on July 14, 2015, after Iran's nuclear negotiating team struck a deal with world powers in Vienna. (AFP PHOTO/ATTA KENARE)
An Iranian man flashes the victory sign as an other holds the Iranian national flag during celebration in northern Tehran on July 14, 2015, after Iran's nuclear negotiating team struck a deal with world powers in Vienna. (AFP PHOTO/ATTA KENARE)

Three-quarters of the Israeli public believe the recent signing of the nuclear accord between world powers and Iran will not prevent the Islamic Republic from striving to acquire atomic weapons, and only 10 percent the population say they trust the US to thwart Tehran’s ambitions to produce unconventional arms, according to a poll conducted Wednesday by the Sarid Institute and published Thursday by Channel 10 news.

The poll further found that 70% of Israelis oppose the nuclear deal, while a mere 10% support it. Twenty percent of respondents said they had no opinion on the matter. A third of respondents said Israel now had no choice but to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities, while 40% opposed military action against the Islamic Republic.

Sixty percent think that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should lead a campaign in the US Congress aimed at stopping the agreement from being implemented. Only 20% oppose such a campaign.

Channel 10 did not state the number of people who took part in the survey.

Under the deal announced Tuesday, Iran’s nuclear program will be scaled back and closely monitored as the US and world powers seek to cut off the Islamic Republic’s ability to develop an atomic weapon. In exchange, Iran will see biting economic sanctions gradually lifted, freeing up tens of billions of dollars in oil revenue and frozen assets.

But Netanyahu and other critics say the deal should have neutralized and dismantled Iran’s military nuclear facilities, and warn that the deal paves Iran’s path to the bomb and will send billions into its coffers which it will use to promote its violent agenda in the region and beyond.

(L-R) High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attend a final press conference of Iran nuclear talks in Vienna, Austria on July 14, 2015. (Joe Klamar/AFP)
(L-R) High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attend a final press conference of Iran nuclear talks in Vienna, Austria on July 14, 2015. (Joe Klamar/AFP)

US President Barack Obama on Wednesday delivered a detailed defense of the world powers’ landmark nuclear accord with Iran, and lambasted Netanyahu and other vociferous critics inside the US for what he said was their failure to present a viable alternative to it.

Taking a direct jab at Netanyahu, Obama said some critics claim Iran wants to “take over the world,” referencing a speech the prime minister made earlier in the month in which he claimed Iran has “the ultimate true aim of taking over the world.” This was “news to the Iranians,” Obama quipped during a press conference on the deal with reporters in the White House.

But Obama agreed that “Israel has legitimate concerns about its security relative to Iran.” The regime in Tehran, he noted, “has proclaimed that Israel shouldn’t exist… has denied the Holocaust… has financed Hezbollah, and as a consequence there are missiles that are pointed toward Tel Aviv.”

Therefore, he said, “I think there are very good reasons why Israelis are nervous about Iran’s position in the world generally, and I’ve said this to Prime Minister Netanyahu, I’ve said it directly to the Israeli people.”

Still, he continued, “all those threats are compounded if Iran gets a nuclear weapon.”

Times of Israel staff, AP and AFP contributed to this report.

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