After months of increasingly strident warnings against nuclear negotiating concessions to Iran, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is calling on "all for whom the security of Israel is dear" to deny those seeking to sign "a bad deal at any price."
In remarks Monday in the Israeli Knesset obviously directed at like-minded supporters in the US Congress, Netanyahu insisted Israel is not obliged to the reportedly imminent agreement being finalized in Vienna between Iran and six world powers.
"We did not obligate ourselves to … an agreement, certainly not one that the powers are willing to sign at any price," Netanyahu said.
"We did oblige ourselves to prevent Iran from arming itself with nuclear weapons and, indeed, if it weren't for our efforts over the years, Iran would have already become armed with the atom a long time ago."
Netanyahu noted that as the so-called P5+1 negotiators were "making more and more concessions at the negotiating table," Iranian President Hassan Rouhani presided over a weekend military parade where crowds alternately chanted "Death to America" and "Death to Israel."
"If, after these clear calls for destruction, negotiators continue to make concessions, apparently there are those who are ready to do a deal at any price and there's no way and no will to prevent this bad deal," Netanyahu lamented.
"Our obligation is to prevent Iran from arming itself with nuclear weapons … I call on all for whom the security of Israel is dear to gather together behind this obligation," Netanyahu said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting at his office on July 12 in Jerusalem.
Photo Credit: Abir Sultan/AFP
Speaking earlier in the day to the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon surmised that conclusion of a comprehensive agreement between the P5+1 powers and Iran is imminent, "perhaps in the coming 24 hours."
He told lawmakers that even if negotiators managed to extract last-minute concessions from Iran, the final deal will be a bad one.
"To our understanding, the agreement that we are aware of, even if there will be some improvements of one kind or another at the last minute, is a bad deal, because it in fact enables Iran to be [among legitimate nations] and to remain a nuclear threshold state," Ya'alon said.
He said the agreement "legitimately whitewashes all what Iran has done in violation of decisions, including those of the UN Security Council, the international community and all that concerns nuclear nonproliferation."
In his July 13 testimony, Ya'alon blasted the agreement nearing conclusion in Vienna ias "full of holes" with regard to inspections, military dimensions and limitations on production pace and enrichment capabilities.
Moreover, he warned it could spark a nuclear arms race by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey and possibly others in the region. "Obviously this has ramifications for other nations who see the situation as a threat to them; neighboring countries who speak about the need to arm.
"This will likely lead to a nuclear arms race in the region among countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey that have expressed themselves on this matter," Ya'alon said.
"This agreement is full of holes and from our perspective is a very bad deal."