Netanyahu says Israel will do everything to prevent 'bad' agreement on Iran's nuclear program

Prime minister expresses satisfaction with delay in signing interim deal; says he spoke to leaders of P5+1 countries over the weekend, warning the proposed deal is dangerous not just to Israel, but to the world.

November 10, 2013 12:50
2 minute read.
PM Netanyahu holds cabinet meeting at Sde Boker, home of first Israeli PM David Ben-Gurion.

Netanyahu with photo of David Ben Gurion 370. (photo credit: Koby Gideon/GPO)


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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu expressed satisfaction at Sunday's cabinet meeting that a deal between the world powers and Iran was not signed over the weekend, but that he was not deluding himself and there was a "strong desire to reach an agreement."

"I hope this will not be an agreement at any price, and if there is an agreement, it needs to be a good one, not a bad one," he said

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Netanyahu, speaking at the beginning of Sunday's cabinet meeting held in Sde Boker to mark 40 years to David Ben-Gurion's death, defined a good agreement as one that would lead to a dismantling of Iran's nuclear capabilities, and a bad one would be letting Iran retain its nuclear capabilities and "taking the air" out of the sanctions.

The prime minister said that Israel would do everything in its power to prevent a "bad agreement."

Netanyahu said he spoke over the weekend with the leaders of each of the P5+1 countries, with the exception of China, meaning that he spoke with US President Barack Obama, Russian Presiding Vladimir Putin, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron.

"I told them that according to information that was reaching Israel the agreement was bad and dangerous," he said. "Dangerous not only to us, but also to them. Dangerous to world peace because it relieves the sanctions pressure that it took years to build, and also because Iran would retain its ability to enrich uranium and also to move forward on the plutonium track."

Netanyahu said that the proposed agreement did not call on the Iranians to dismantle "one centrifuge."

"I asked the leaders, what is the rush," Netanyahu said. "I suggested that they wait, that they consider things very carefully. We are taking about a historic process, a historic decision. I requested that they wait."

Despite the failure of the talks on Saturday, Iran and six world powers said differences had narrowed and they would resume negotiations on November 20 to try to end the decade-old standoff.

But clear divisions emerged among the US and European allies on the final day of the Geneva talks as France hinted that the proposal under discussion did not sufficiently neutralize the threat of an Iranian nuclear bomb.

Netanyahu on Friday denounced the contours of an accord leaked to the media, saying Tehran would be getting "the deal of the century" if world powers carried out proposals to grant Iran temporary respite from sanctions.

Israel, which regards Iran as a mortal threat, has repeatedly suggested it may take military action against Tehran if it does not mothball its entire nuclear program.

Iran dismisses such demands, citing a sovereign right to a nuclear energy industry, and most diplomats concede that, as Tehran has expanded its nuclear capacity exponentially since 2006, the time for demanding a total shutdown has passed.

The Islamic Republic says its activities are purely peaceful and negotiators say they are ready to take the steps necessary for such an agreement if their nuclear "rights are recognized" and world powers reciprocate by easing sanctions.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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