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Israel blasts Iran nuclear deal as a ‘historic mistake’

It follows the easing economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for steps to curb its nuclear programme.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, center, attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem, Israel
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, center, attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem, Israel
Image: AP Photo/Abir Sultan

ISRAEL HAS LASHED out at the Geneva nuclear deal brokered by world powers as being heavily stacked in Iran’s favour, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling it a “historic mistake”.

Following a diplomatic campaign warning of the dangers of easing economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for steps to curb its contested nuclear programme, senior cabinet ministers chimed in, with one saying Israel reserved the right to strike Iran on its own.

Netanyahu told his cabinet on Sunday that “what was achieved yesterday in Geneva is not a historic agreement but rather a historic mistake”.

Speaking later at a ceremony in Jerusalem, he said that the more details emerged on the deal, “the more it becomes clear how bad the deal is for Israel, the region and the world”.

Iran gets billions of dollars in sanction relief without paying an actual price. Iran gets written permission to breach UN Security Council resolutions.

According to Netanyahu, the agreement “rescues Iran from a significant part of the pressure it was under, while giving it international legitimacy to continue its nuclear programme. This is a bad deal”.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said the agreement conferred legitimacy on Iran’s uranium enrichment programme in what he described as a diplomatic coup for the Islamic republic.

“This agreement is the greatest diplomatic victory of Iran, which has gained recognition for its so-called legitimate right to enrich uranium,” he told public radio.

The responsibility for the security of the Jewish people and the population of Israel remains the sole responsibility of the Israeli government.

“All decisions in this regard will be taken independently and responsibly,” he added.

Tehran has a long history of belligerent statements towards the Jewish state, notably under former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Israel has repeatedly warned that a nuclear Iran would pose an existential threat, refusing to rule out a preventative military strike on Iran’s atomic infrastructure.

The holocaust-denying Ahmadinejad, who was president for eight years, often questioned Israel’s right to exist, famously saying Israel should be “wiped from the page of time,” which was mistranslated as “wiped off the map”.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, a key player in the marathon talks that led to the interim deal, had earlier tried to head off criticism by saying the agreement would push back the threat and ultimately make the Jewish state more secure.

- © AFP, 2013

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