Satellite images of Iranian nuclear facility (file).
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The World Powers' agreement with Iran authorizes its illegal nuclear program, the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee said in a joint statement by its 29 members Wednesday.
“After receiving a comprehensive overview of the details of the agreement between Iran and the powers, we declare that this agreement has weighty, negative ramifications for Israel’s security,” the statement reads.
“The agreement authorizes the illegal nuclear program Iran promoted, while violating repeated agreements by the UN Security Council and the IAEA.”
The committee said removing sanctions will lead billions of dollars to flow into Iranian coffers, some of which can be used to strengthen Iranian global terrorism and Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad.
What does the Iran nuclear deal mean for Israel?
The committee called on the government and Knesset to “continue to closely follow the precise and strict implementation of articles limiting Iran’s nuclear program, to ensure that Iran is not continuing to fool the international community as it did in the past, while strengthening the historic alliance between the US and Israel.”
It took several hours for Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud) to reach a consensus between the panel’s members as to what the joint declaration should say.
Hanegbi opened the committee meeting with a call “to overcome political differences and reach a consensus so we can make a joint declaration by the committee about the interpretations and meaning of the agreement.”
However, in the meeting, which was closed to the press, several opposition MKs, including Shelly Yacimovich, Tzipi Livni and Nachman Shai of the Zionist Union and Zehava Gal-On and Michal Rozin of Meretz, took umbrage with the way representatives of the National Security Council, Foreign Ministry and Strategic Affairs Ministry presented the agreement to them.
Deputy NSC chairman Yaakov Nagal called the deal “even worse than we thought,” and said “the bottom line is that Iran is allowed to continue enriching uranium on Iranian land and all the existing centrifuges will remain in Iran and not be dismantled.”
Nagal said Iran will be permitted to continue research and development of advanced centrifuges, along with the lifting of sanctions allowing a freer exchange of information, thus letting Iran significantly decrease the time necessary to break out, and after 15 years, all limitations on enrichment will be removed.
The NSC official also pointed to holes in the IAEA inspection system, especially the fact that Tehran will have 24 days to prepare before inspectors arrive.
“Iran did not and will not abandon its military nuclear vision,” Nagal said.
The Zionist Union and Meretz MKs criticized how emphatically negative Nagal and other officials were in their analysis, accusing them of political bias and only giving the government’s position, and saying they are not supposed to take a side.
The opposition lawmakers also lamented that in the slides they were shown, any time it said Iran committed to something, the word “committed” appeared in quotation marks, used grammatically incorrectly to indicate skepticism.
Hanegbi said he would continue trying to work on a message from the committee on which all its members could agree.
Also in the meeting, MK Michael Oren (Kulanu), former ambassador to the US, said Israel should not count out the possibility that the agreement will herald a new era of closeness between Iran and the US, which may establish full and official diplomatic ties with Tehran.
Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid called the deal “Israel’s biggest diplomatic failure since the establishment of the state. The prime minister is not Winston Churchill before World War II, he is Golda Meir after the Yom Kippur War.”