Iran would have nuclear weapons capacity under the terms of the framework deal with the six world powers, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Saturday night, adding that he hopes the deal will not come to fruition.
“I truly believe that we are also talking about the security of the world,” he said, during a Mimouna celebration in Or Akiva. “The most dangerous terrorist state in the world shouldn’t receive the world’s most dangerous weapons. Therefore, we are committed to try to avoid a bad agreement and replace it with a good agreement.”
Out of the many challenges facing Israel, the greatest is Iran’s attempt to develop nuclear weapons, Netanyahu said.
All the problematic details of the framework agreement, which he warned the international community about in advance, were indeed included in the document, Netanyahu said.
“This deal gives the world’s leading terrorist state a safe path to the bomb that threatens Israel, the Middle East and the world,” Netanyahu said.
“It leaves Iran with significant nuclear capabilities, it doesn’t dismantle them, it preserves them,” Netanyahu said.
The supervision is not serious and there is no control mechanism, Netanyahu said.
Under the framework agreement sanctions would be removed immediately even though Iran continues its aggressive policies against Israel, throughout the Middle East and the world, he said.
US Secretary of State John Kerry, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, and other senior US officials are to brief Congress this week on the framework deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program, reached earlier this month in Switzerland between Iran and the P5+1 world powers (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, plus Germany). The final agreement is to be worked out by the end of June.
As an example of how far apart the sides still are, on Thursday Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say for Iran on the deal, ruled out any “extraordinary supervision measures” over nuclear activities and said military sites could not be inspected.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Thursday he would sign a deal only if sanctions were lifted.
“We will not sign any deal unless all sanctions are lifted on the same day.... We want a win-win deal for all parties involved in the nuclear talks,” Rouhani said. “The Iranian nation has been and will be the victor in the negotiations.
“Our main gain in the talks was the fact that US President Barack Obama acknowledged that Iranians will not surrender to bullying, sanctions and threats. It is a triumph for Iran that the first military power in the world has admitted Iranians will not bow to pressure.”
Ambiguities over the lifting of sanctions must be resolved, said Mohammad Ali Jafari, the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, according to Fars News.
“There are ambiguities which need to be made clear and we must realize that this very issue of how the sanctions will be removed can lead to a lack of agreement,” Ali Jafari said.
Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes on Friday told reporters in Panama that sanctions would be lifted only gradually and that military sites would have to be inspected.
Rhodes chalked up Tehran’s statements on sanctions and military inspections to the need to play to hard liners in Iran.
The test of the deal is not in the statements Iranians make, but what is written in the document that is expected to be finalized in June, Rhodes said.
“I think it’s very clear and understood that sanctions relief will be phased with respect to Iran; that they will have to conduct certain...take certain steps as a part of earning the continued provision of sanctions relief,” Rhodes said.
He clarified that the past UN Security Council resolutions on Iran would be replaced by a new resolution that would endorse the deal. It would freeze the sanctions, not dismantle them, so that if the deal were violated they could snap back into place, he explained. It would preserve existing sanctions on Iran’s ballistic missiles and sensitive technologies.
The final deal has to be consistent with the framework agreement, he said, adding that otherwise “there won’t be a deal. But I’m confident that there is going to be the ability to work hard and complete this work if Iran continues to show a will to get this done.”
He defended a White House tweet, posted Thursday in favor of the deal, that employed a variation of the cartoon of the Iranian bomb threat displayed by Netanyahu before the UN General Assembly. The White House graphic showed a pair of scissors cutting the bomb’s fuse.
Iran’s stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium would be eliminated under the first step of the agreement and a stockpile of lower enriched uranium would be mostly eliminated as well, Rhodes said.
“Just as we’re also aiming to cut off the various other pathways to a nuclear weapon that Iran could pursue, so I don’t think anybody should be surprised that the United States and Israel, despite our very strong alliance and friendship and cooperation on many issues, are going to continue to be public in terms of expressing our views of the Iran deal,” he said.
“And we’ll be making our case, just as Prime Minister Netanyahu and his administration have regularly made their views known.”
US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter told CNN on Saturday morning that a military option remains on the table, should the deal fall apart. He said that bunker-busting bombs, meant to penetrate Iran’s underground facilities, are “ready to go.”
“We have the capability to shut down, sit back, and destroy the Iranian nuclear program and I believe the Iranians know that and understand that,” Carter said, indicating the US’s willingness to utilize high-powered bombs if Tehran does not abide by the deal.Reuters and Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.