JERUSALEM (AP) — Having lost its battle to stop the international deal reached this week on Iran’s nuclear program, Israeli officials are already picking up the pieces and planning a fight to shape a final agreement that negotiators hope to reach in six months.
Israeli officials say the final deal must go beyond freezing Iran’s program and roll back the achievements they say has made the Islamic Republic a threshold weapons state. From Israel’s perspective, the world powers must show they have not been duped by Iran’s campaign of amiability and still have the stomach to press on with crippling sanctions if needed.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who believes Iran is determined to produce a nuclear bomb, harshly condemned Sunday’s agreement between Iran and six world powers as a “historic mistake” and said Israel was not bound by the deal.
In exchange for some relief from economic sanctions, Iran agreed to curb most of its nuclear activities while negotiations on a final agreement proceed during the next six months. But most of its nuclear infrastructure, including its ability to enrich uranium, a key step in making bombs, remains intact.
On Monday, Netanyahu said he would not give up. Speaking to members of his Likud Party, the Israeli leader said he would dispatch his national security adviser, Yossi Cohen, to Washington in the coming days to coordinate the next move with the Americans.
“This permanent agreement has to lead to one result: dismantling the Iranian nuclear military capability,” he said, claiming that just this week Iran repeated its vow to destroy Israel. “And I repeat here my commitment to prevent them from getting the ability to do this.”
The initial deal with Iran has raised tensions between Israel and the U.S., and news that the Americans had secretly negotiated much of the agreement threatened to deepen those differences. Israeli officials declined to comment.