A man holds up a sign as he and several thousand other protestors demonstrate during a rally opposing the nuclear deal with Iran in Times Square.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel and Arab powers in the Middle East share a common and deep concern over what Iran will do with its nuclear program once the sunset clause in the Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, expires, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday.
Asked by military reporters to comment on the status of the nuclear issue, Netanyahu said that the Iranian program has not vanished, and “is far from vanishing.”
Israel and Arab states are all concerned about what will happen in around 12 years, when Iran will be able to enrich “as much uranium as it wants,” he warned. The problem he said, is what the future will bring not if Iran violates the agreement, but if it keeps to it. Netanyahu revisited his past disagreement with the Obama Administration on the deal, saying he did not object to Washington’s desire to allow Iran to eventually enrich uranium, but did object to giving it that option without any conditions.
“It shouldn’t have been dependent on a date, but rather how Iran behaves,” Netanyahu said. In the meantime, Iran has not changed its regional hostility and aggression, both to Israel and to Arab states, the prime minister said.
“There is no sign that Iran is moderating,” he stated.
“Israel will prevent Iran from arming itself with nuclear weapons” if it is needed, he cautioned. Netanyahu also defended his past record on Iran, saying Israel led a global effort and awareness of the Iranian nuclear danger prior to the agreement, which led to sanctions.
Were it not for Israeli efforts, Iran would have nuclear weapons by now, he said.
Meanwhile, in Iran, the election of a hard line conservative to lead the Assembly of Experts, which will decide on the successor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, was another sign that Iran will continue to be bad news for Middle East security, Netanyahu warned.