French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told a radio station on Monday that he did not believe Israel would launch a preemptive military assault on Iran's nuclear installations, Israel Radio reported.
Fabius said that the European Union would likely begin lifting some of the sanctions against Iran beginning next month following the interim accord that was agreed upon between the P5+1 powers and the Islamic Republic.
Bracing for continued battle over the Iranian nuclear issue, a senior Israeli official said Sunday that Israel will continue to act in the “diplomatic arena” and “in other areas” to ensure that Iran does not get nuclear weapons.
“The ball is still in play,” the official said, as Israel digested the significance of the agreement signed in Geneva in the early morning hours that legitimizes Iran’s enrichment of uranium, but freezes the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program for six months in exchange for sanctions relief estimated at $7 billion.
“We have no intention of sitting on the sidelines.”
The official said Jerusalem would continue to make its case to “relevant people, we are not giving up.”
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke by phone Sunday evening with US President Barack Obama, the White House announced.
Their differences of opinion on this issue were on full display, with Obama applauding the agreement, saying that diplomacy “opened up a new path toward a world that is more secure,” and Netanyahu slamming it, asserting that the accord rendered the world a “much more dangerous place.”
“What was agreed last night in Geneva is not a historic agreement, it is a historic mistake,” Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting. “Today the world has become a much more dangerous place, because the most dangerous regime in the world has taken a significant step toward attaining the most dangerous weapon in the world.”
For the first time, he said, the leading powers of the world agreed to uranium enrichment in Iran, while removing sanctions that it has taken years to build up in exchange for “cosmetic Iranian concessions that are possible to do away with in a matter of weeks.”
Netanyahu said the consequences of this deal threaten many countries including Israel. He reiterated what he has said in the past, that Israel is not obligated by the agreement.
“Iran is committed to Israel’s destruction, and Israel has the right and the obligation to defend itself by itself against any threat,” he said.
“I want to make clear as the prime minister of Israel, Israel will not allow Iran to develop a military nuclear capability.”
Herb Keinon and Reuters contributed to this report.
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