Benjamin Netanyahu said he and his Cabinet are united in “strongly opposing” a framework agreement announced yesterday by Barack Obama on Iran’s nuclear program.
The Israeli Prime Minister has demanded that any final deal expected by 30 June contains Iran’s “clear and unambiguous” recognition of Israel’s right to exist.
Iran and six countries came to the near end of an “historic” agreement yesterday to scale back the Iranian nuclear capabilities in exchange for loosening some economic sanctions.
Netanyahu has hit back after Obama’s White House speech to reiterate his view that Iran cannot be trusted. He claims that the Islamic Republic is set to wage war against Israel – which is not party to the discussions – with nuclear weapons.
The leader said after the discussion by P5+1 representatives – from five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany – that “Israel will not accept an agreement which allows a country that vows to annihilate us to develop nuclear weapons, period.”
He added: “Such a deal paves Iran’s path to the bomb. And it might very well spark a nuclear arms race throughout the Middle East and it would greatly increase the risks of terrible war.”
Iran denies it has nuclear weapons ambitions and says its program is intended for the peaceful purposes of generating electricity for its citizens.
Today, on the eve of the Jewish week-long festival Passover, Netanyahu convened his Cabinet for a special session to discuss the emerging framework, reached after a week of gruelling negotiations in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Israel is currently the only place in the Middle East reported to have a nuclear arsenal – of around 200 weapons. Iran has yet to be found possessing any.
His claims that Iran is harbouring plans to unleash nuclear chaos on the world were contradicted by his own secret service Mossad, who leaked a document stating that Iran was using uranium to generate electricity.
Evidence passed by Mossad to a South African agency, before being published by Al Jazeera and Guardian, states Iran is “not performing the activity necessary to produce weapons” and “doesn’t appear to be ready to enrich [uranium] to higher levels.”
The announced proposals would substantially reduce some Iranian nuclear assets for a decade and restrict others for an additional five years. Tehran is ready to reduce its number of centrifuges, according to US documents.
Under current proposals, the country would be allowed to operate just over 5,000 centrifuges. Much of its enriched stockpiles would be neutralised.
A planned reactor would be reconstructed so it cannot produce weapons-grade plutonium. Monitoring and inspections by the UN nuclear agency would be heightened.
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