The responses to the Saturday announcement in Vienna of the implementation of the Iranian nuclear deal could not be more different in Washington and Jerusalem.
“Today… the United States, our friends and allies in the Middle East, and the entire world are safer because the threat of the nuclear weapon has been reduced,” US Secretary of State John Kerry said in Vienna.
Meanwhile, in Jerusalem, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday that “even after signing the nuclear deal, Iran has not relinquished its ambition to obtain nuclear weapons, and continues to act to destabilize the Middle East and spread terror throughout the world while violating its international commitments.”
Earlier Saturday, Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan warned that the implementation of the deal would endanger the Middle East and fail to curb Tehran’s atomic program.
“The ‘implementation day’ of the nuclear agreement ushers us into a new and dangerous era, in which Iran is freed from most of its economic sanctions, without having to quit its nuclear program or provide explanations for its military activities,” he said in a statement.
Erdan, who is also public security minister, said Iran continued to “supply arms to terror groups like Hezbollah and Hamas” while interfering in the internal affairs of Gulf States and violating a UN Security Council prohibition on “developing ballistic missiles.”
The US vowed to maintain pressure on Iran to hold to its side of the bargain, under which crippling international sanctions are lifted in exchange for dramatic roll-backs of Iran’s nuclear program.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said work was “far from over” on implementing the nuclear deal and that Iran must “continue to abide by its commitments.” The United States will work to make sure restrictions that remain in place against Iran are “fully enforced,” she said.
And the agreement won praise from other members of the so-called P5+1 group of six world powers that hammered it out with Iran.
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, one of the six powers, along with the US, Russia, China, France and Germany, said that “years of patient and persistent diplomacy… have borne fruit.”
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called the implementation of the deal “a historic success for diplomacy.”
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, representing the six powers, said that as a result of international nuclear inspectors’ confirmation that Iran had abided by its part of the deal thus far, “multilateral and national economic and financial sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear program are lifted.
“This achievement clearly demonstrates that with political will, perseverance, and through multilateral diplomacy, we can solve the most difficult issues and find practical solutions that are effectively implemented,” Mogherini said in Vienna in a joint statement with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also praised the efficacy of diplomacy Saturday, saying the deal was a “significant milestone that reflects the good faith effort by all parties to fulfill their agreed commitments.”
He stressed the “need for all concerned in the region to make the world a safer place through dialogue and peaceful means.”