Iran FM: Netanyahu’s opposition to nuclear deal weakens Israel

Thanks to scrap between Jerusalem and Washington, Zarif claims, ‘hated Zionist regime’ has never been so isolated

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

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during a press conference, July 15, 2015.  (AFP/ATTA KENARE)
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during a press conference, July 15, 2015. (AFP/ATTA KENARE)

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Tuesday that Israel had become isolated after his country and world powers reached a historic deal aimed at curbing Tehran’s nuclear program.

Zarif said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s fierce opposition to the deal, and Israeli attempts to lobby US lawmakers to sink it, ultimately weakened Israel.

“The much-hated Zionist regime has never been this much isolated among its allies,” Zarif said, according to the semi-official outlet Press TV.

While the world’s major powers welcomed the deal finalized with Iran last week as a significant initiative capable of setting relations with the Islamic Republic on a new path, Netanyahu harshly condemned it as a “historic” mistake.

The prime minister has continued to argue that the deal will not block Iran’s path to nuclear weapons that could be used to target Israel, and says the lifting of sanctions will allow it to further support proxy militants in the Middle East.

While Netanyahu enjoys wide support among Israelis for his stand against Iran, his political opponents have criticized the prime minister for defiantly maintaining his staunch opposition to the agreement in a manner that they warn could result in Israel’s further isolation from its allies.

Netanyahu’s concerns will likely be heard again as focus this week shifts to the US Congress, which begins its 60-day review period for the deal. Netanyahu has many allies in Washington, particularly among Republicans, but their chances of sinking the agreement appear slim.

On Tuesday, the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee lobbying group began to press key lawmakers to move ahead with legislation aimed to kill the agreement.

However, revoking the deal will require the support of House Democrats to overcome the presidential veto that Obama has already guaranteed he will employ in such a scenario.

AFP contributed to this report.

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