The US folded during negotiations in Geneva with Iran over its nuclear project, political sources in Israel charged
on Saturday. They added that Israel was stunned when it learned over the weekend
that a version of the deal being proposed was far worse than it
Senior political sources said that the deal that has been
sitting on the negotiations table since the weekend is “very bad.” It calls on
Iran to stop enriching uranium to the 20 percent level, but allows them to
continue enriching uranium to 3.5% at all of its enrichment sites. In addition
it fails to place a limitation on the number of centrifuges in Tehran’s
possession, estimated to number 19,000.
Under the proposed deal, “Iran
won’t really be paying a significant price,” a source added.
understanding, they’re receiving a significant easing of sanctions,” he
Rewards to Iran include the unfreezing of $3 billion of fuel
funds, an easing of sanctions on the petrochemical and gold sectors, an easing
of sanctions on replacement parts for planes and a loosening of restrictions on
the Iranian car industry.
If such a deal goes ahead, “We might head down
a lane that will lead to a collapse of the sanctions regime. This is very
grave,” the source continued. “This won’t really stop the [nuclear] project. It
will give the Iranians breathing space.”
Israel’s position is that as
long as Iran continues, sanctions must not be lifted, and should even be
If Iran freezes its nuclear program, holding off on new
sanctions would be acceptable from an Israeli perspective, but easing them would
be a major error.
Israel received updates on the talks from the US on
Wednesday, as well as from others, and believed that the deal taking shape would
be limited to unfreezing $3b. of Iranian assets in Western bank accounts. Even
at that stage, Israel objected to the plan, due to its assessment that the
moment a crack in the door appears, and sanctions are eased, the door can then
be torn down by international companies from countries such as China, Italy and
Germany who are thirsty for business with Iran.
Once major international
transactions begin, a dynamic will kick in that will lead to a collapse of
sanctions, according to this evaluation.
But over the weekend, Israel
learned that the deal on the table is far worse than the one presented to it on
Wednesday, and included four clauses
for the easing of sanctions rather than
just one. Israeli officials said they became furious when the details of the
actual deal reached them, describing it as an “enormous mistake.”
Secretary of State John] Kerry left with food for thought after a tough
conversation with [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu,” the political source
At the same time, he stressed, the US did not deceive Israel.
Instead, the Americans “folded” between Wednesday and the weekend, “maybe
because they very much want to reach an agreement and be done with this,” he
“The Iranians are the ones who came crawling to the negotiations,
begging for an easing of sanctions, otherwise their regime will fall, and what’s
incredible is that it seems that the Americans are more eager than them to reach
an agreement,” the source charged.
If the deal is signed, the momentum
against Iran could fall apart, he warned.
Israeli officials believe that
Iran isn’t far from the point where it will have to decide to give up on the
nuclear project in favor of economic survival, and are incredulous that at the
moment of truth, a poor deal is being floated.
The source paid tribute to
France for its firm stance against the agreement, adding that Britain is
following the soft line being pushed by the US.
The delays in reaching an
agreement between the P5+1 countries and Iran in the Geneva talks could well be
due to Israel’s deep dissatisfaction, officials said, as well as France’s
“At the moment it seems like every side is trying to improve
its stance,” the source said.
The international community must know how
to engage in tough diplomacy with Iran if it wishes to avoid seeing military
force used against the Islamic Republic, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon
cautioned on Saturday.
He added that an agreement between Iran and the
international community over Tehran’s nuclear program under the proposed terms
would be a “historic mistake.”
“Specifically now, when the Iranian regime
is in great economic distress and is anxious about its survival, Western
countries must not blink and strike a bad deal, which will grant Iran breathing
space and ease the sanctions on the one hand, and won’t cause it to make real
concessions on the nuclear project on the other,” Ya’alon said.
important for those who want to prevent a need to use force against Iran to know
how to manage tough diplomacy, to bring the Iranian regime to a junction in
which it’ll have to choose between its survival or a continuation of the nuclear
project,” he added.
He called on the international community “not to be
blinded” by the Iranian charm offensive.
“An agreement now, under current
conditions, is a historic mistake that will allow the warmongering regime in
Tehran to continue with its dangerous nuclear program, and its ambition to
spread terrorism and undermine regimes across the Middle East, and the whole
world,” the defense minister warned.
Opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich
(Labor) said the talks in Geneva raise concern.
“Now it seems that the
basis of the interim agreement is not dismantlement of Iran’s ability to develop
a bomb, but just a freeze, and that is not enough, because in the meantime
sanctions are lessened and Iran can breathe easily and restart armament at any
time,” Yacimovich said at a cultural event in the southern Sharon region on
The Labor leader called it “worrying” that the talks in Iran
come “at the height of a crisis in our relations with the
“[Netanyahu] must remember that our friendship with the US is
our most important strategic asset,” she added. “We must accelerate peace talks,
and a wave of construction in the territories is the opposite of that. As long
as the peace process is stuck and the US is distancing itself from us, we lose
influence on the Iranian issue.”
On the other side of the political
spectrum, Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon said that “the emerging agreement
between Iran and the world powers is emptying sanctions of any
“Iran immediately gets less sanctions in exchange for false
promises to delay its nuclear program,” he said.
Lahav Harkov contributed
to this report.