Netanyahu, Kerry spar over whether Iran nuclear deal good for Israel

The Secretary of state says There is a lot of ‘hysteria’ in Israel while Netanyahu says this is the ‘challenge of our generation.’

May 3, 2015 00:08
2 minute read.
Kerry Netanyahu upset

Kerry, Netanyahu in Tel Aviv July 23. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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The US has “designed and deployed a weapon that has the ability to deal with Iran’s nuclear program,” US Secretary of State John Kerry said in a Channel 10 interview that aired Sunday night.

Kerry made clear during the interview that the US expected advance warning from Israel if it decides to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.

He said that he does not believe the US would wake up one morning and find that Israel had attacked.

“I believe that our relationship with Israel is such that the prime minister would talk to us at considerable length, because we would be deeply involved in what would happen as an aftermath, and there are huge implications to that,” Kerry said.

Kerry repeated a number of times during the interview that the US “would never disappoint Israel” and that “we will not sign a deal that does not close off Iran’s pathways toward a bomb.”

The secretary noted that when the negotiations had started, the time it would have taken for Iran to get enough fissile material for one bomb – the so-called breakout time – was between two to three months. With the deal, he stressed, the breakout period would be for one year.

Kerry said that Israelis should have confidence that a US administration that designed and deployed Iron Dome, that signed a memorandum of understanding putting $3.1 billion on the table annually for Israel’s defense, and that has “designed and deployed a weapon that has the ability to deal with Iran’s nuclear program” is “absolutely an administration, government and country that will stand by Israel way into the future.”

But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, without mentioning Kerry by name, disputed some of his arguments at the start of a meeting with visiting Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH). He said that, as the prime minister of Israel and the one responsible for the country’s security, his determination is that the Lausanne deal endangers the country.

The deal, he said, gives Iran a vast nuclear infrastructure not needed for civilian nuclear energy; the capacity and international legitimacy within about a decade to produce fuel for dozens of nuclear bombs with virtually no breakout time; and will allow Iran to fill its coffers “with tens of billions of dollars to fuel its aggression and its terrorism.”

Kerry announced during the interview that he will travel to Israel in the coming weeks, once a government is formed, and that “we will proceed forward with a strong and healthy relationship between the United States and Israel, because that is in our DNA, it is not going away.”

Channel 2 reported that Kerry had wanted to come to Israel to discuss regional issues soon after the elections, but Netanyahu asked him to postpone the visit until after a government was formed. The Prime Minister’s Office would not comment on the report.

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