Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday slammed the world powers’ nuclear deal with Iran as a “stunning historic mistake,” while maintaining that Israel was not bound by it.
The comments came as a US official said US President Barack Obama would phone Israeli and Saudi leaders to discuss the landmark deal, announced earlier in the day.
“Israel is not bound by this deal with Iran because Iran continues to seek our destruction. We will always defend ourselves,” Netanyahu told foreign media reporters in Jerusalem.
The prime minister lashed out at world powers for easing sanctions against the Islamic Republic without requiring it to cease support for militant movements in the region, and for not requiring Tehran to dismantle its facilities as part of the agreement.
“By not dismantling Iran’s nuclear program, in a decade this deal will give an unreformed, unrepentant and far richer terrorism regime the capacity to produce many nuclear bombs; in fact an entire nuclear arsenal, with the means to deliver it,” he said. “What a stunning historic mistake.”
Netanyahu said world powers were “gambling” that Iran would change in the coming decade, “while removing any incentive to do so.”
The deal “will reward Iran… with hundreds of billions of dollars,” he said. This “cash bonanza will fuel Iran’s terrorism worldwide, its aggression in the region, and its efforts to destroy Israel, which are ongoing.”
The prime minister also maintained that the nuclear agreement “repeats the mistakes made with North Korea.”
“And we all know how that ended,” he added wryly, referring to Pyongyang’s attainment of a military nuclear capacity.
Meanwhile, a US administration official said Tuesday that a UN Security Council resolution setting out timelines for Iran’s compliance with the deal could be introduced soon.
The US-drafted resolution will come “probably as soon as next week” and already has the backing of UN veto-wielding members who took part in the Iran talks, the official said.
The resolution is expected to authorize economic retaliation in response to any breach of the deal, but will likely stop short of any reference to military consequences.
However, another senior administration official, also on condition of anonymity, did not rule out the possibility of US military action as a last resort.
“Our clear preference is to resolve this diplomatically,” the official said.
“Going forward, this or any future US president would have any option available to them including military action, if they felt that was necessary.
“If Iran is complying with this deal we certainly believe that would not be necessary to address the nuclear issue,” the official said.