An Israeli official late Thursday castigated the nuclear deal struck between Iran and world powers earlier in the evening as a dangerous capitulation to Tehran which would result in the Islamic republic’s nuclear armament.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, railed furiously against the framework agreement shortly after it was hailed by US President Barack Obama as a “historic agreement.”
Obama later called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and discussed the terms of the deal with him.
“This is a bad framework that will lead to a bad and dangerous deal,” the Israeli official said. “If an agreement is reached based on the guidelines of this framework, that would be an historic mistake which will transform the world into a much more dangerous place.”
The comments came shortly after Obama had welcomed the deal as making the world “a safer place.” Netanyahu had tweeted earlier in the evening that the deal would need to “significantly” roll back the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.
Obama openly acknowledged that they “don’t agree” on how to stop Iran, while telling Netanyahu that the new deal was “the most effective” and “best option.”
The Jerusalem source strongly disagreed. “The framework gives Iran’s nuclear program, the sole purpose of which is to produce nuclear bombs, international legitimacy,” the Israeli official said.
“Iran will still have extensive nuclear capabilities. It will continue to enrich uranium. It will continue its centrifuge research and development. It will not close even one of its nuclear facilities, including the underground facility at Fordo. This and more.
“The bottom line,” the official warned, “is that this deal ensures the full removal of the sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program while assuring that it will keep its nuclear capabilities.
“There is no demand that Iran stop its aggression in the region, its terrorism around the world or its threats to destroy Israel, which it has repeated again over the past several days,” the official complained.
“This deal kowtows to Iranian dictates and it will not lead to a nuclear program for peaceful purposes, but rather to a military nuclear program.”
The alternative to a bad deal is not war but rather a different deal,” the official concluded, “one that will significantly dismantle Iran’s nuclear infrastructure and will require Iran to stop its aggression and terrorism in the region and around the world.”
Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog said in a statement published on Facebook that the crux of the understandings reached between Iran and world powers was still to be finalized, and that “we must ensure that the final agreement which will be formulated now will roll back Iran’s nuclear program in a manner which prevents them from [obtaining] a nuclear weapon, and will protect the security interests of Israel.”
Centrist Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid noted: “On the Iranian nuclear issue there is no opposition and coalition. We are all concerned that the Iranians will circumvent the deal and Israel must protect its own security interests. The ayatollah’s regime has been peddling fraud and deception for years and progressing with its nuclear program. They will try, from day one, to cheat the international community as they have done in the past.”
Added Lapid: There is no basis to the determination that today Iran was prevented from attaining a nuclear weapon. Israel needs to work with the United States and the international community to ensure there is no Iranian fraud, something which would threaten Israel’s security and that of the world.”
Meanwhile, an Israeli commentator concluded that the deal takes Israel’s military option off the table.
“If there was a possibility of an Israeli military strike” to thwart Iran prior to this point, said Channel 2’s diplomatic correspondent Udi Segal as the deal was announced, “it is now off the table.
The notion of Israel taking military action now, Segal added, would be beyond “irresponsible and foolish.”
Earlier in the evening, Netanyahu took to Twitter to voice his concerns about the deal, vowing to fight the agreement before it is finalized in the coming months.
— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) April 2, 2015
Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz, who oversees the monitoring of the nuclear program, said the deal was “disconnected from the sad reality” of the region.
Following Thursday’s announcement, Iran and the world powers are expected to work out the details of a final deal by the end of June.
“Since the declaration is far from being a real agreement, we will continue in our efforts to explain and persuade the world in the hope of preventing a bad agreement, or at least to insert corrections and improvements,” Steinitz said.
AP contributed to this report.