LIVE BLOG: Israel 'not bound by Iran deal', Netanyahu says
Atta Kenare (AFP)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday after world powers reached a historic nuclear deal with Iran that Israel was not bound by it and signalled he remained ready to order military action.
Netanyahu's harsh criticism of the agreement came after he warned for months that the deal being negotiated would not prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
While analysts say unilateral military action by Israel seems unlikely for now, Netanyahu and other officials have kept the option on the table.
"Israel is not bound by this deal with Iran, and Israel is not bound by this deal with Iran because Iran continues to seek our destruction," Netanyahu told reporters before a meeting of his security cabinet.
"We will always defend ourselves."
Netanyahu called the nuclear deal a "historic mistake", and the accord drew strong criticism from across the Israeli political spectrum.
20:42 GMT: President Obama called UAE Crown Prince about Iran deal: White House
20:27 GMT: President Barack Obama telephoned King Salman of Saudi Arabia on Tuesday from Air Force One to discuss the newly completed Iran nuclear agreement, the White House said.
19:36 GMT: Saudi Arabia said it supported an agreement to stop Tehran gaining nuclear weapons but emphasized the importance of a strict inspections regime and the ability to reimpose sanctions.
The comments, attributed to "an official source" by the state-run Saudi Press Agency, also stressed that sanctions relating to terrorism and violation of international arms treaties would remain intact. It was the first official Saudi reaction to the agreement between major powers and Tehran.
18:51 GMT: German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier criticized Israel's opposition to a nuclear deal agreed by six world powers and Iran, saying the agreement will help contribute to security in the Middle East.
"This is a responsible deal and Israel should also take a closer look at it and not criticize the agreement in a very coarse way," Steinmeier told German broadcaster ARD in an interview.
Steinmeier said the basis for the agreement was transparency and the ability to monitor Iran's compliance. "In the agreement, Iran has to commit to these monitoring possibilities. And we will make sure that the monitoring possibilities are also observed after this deal," he said.
18:00 GMT: Israel's security cabinet met on Tuesday to discuss the nuclear deal between world powers and Iran and said Israel was not bound by it, a statement from the prime minister's office said.
The announcement echoed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's own statement before the meeting, in which he described the deal as a "stunning, historic mistake" and added: "Israel is not bound by this deal with Iran because Iran continues to seek our destruction. We will always defend ourselves."
17:46 GMT: US President Barack Obama told a skeptical Benjamin Netanyahu Tuesday that the freshly sealed Iran nuclear deal was in Israel's "national security interest" and dispatched his secretary of defense to the Jewish state for talks.
The White House said Obama called the Israeli Prime Minister, who has described the accord as a "historic mistake," announcing Ash Carter would travel to Israel next week.
"The president told the prime minister that today's agreement on the nuclear issue will not diminish our concerns regarding Iran's support for terrorism and threats toward Israel," the White House said.
17:41 GMT: Netanyahu held a phone conversation with Obama in which he expressed Israel's concern over the nuclear deal between world powers and Iran, an Israeli government source said.
"Prime Minister Netanyahu emphasized that the agreement raises two main dangers:
"It will afford Iran the ability to arm itself with nuclear weapons in 10-15 years time, whether it keeps to the agreement, and beforehand if it breaks the deal," the source said. "Additionally, it will channel billions of dollars to the Iranian terror and war machine which threatens Israel and the entire world."
15:56 GMT: Egypt's foreign ministry releases statement on Iran deal.
"The foreign ministry spokesman expressed hope that the deal between both sides is complete and prevents an arms race in the Middle East as well as ensuring the region is free of all weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons," it said in a statement
14:06 GMT: Israel "is not bound by this deal cause Iran continues to seek our destruction," Netanyahu said in a statement to the press after an emergency gathering of the security cabinet devoted to the nuclear accord. The leader opened his address by saying that "the world is a much more dangerous place today than it was yesterday."
14:06 GMT: US President Barack Obama will soon speak to Israeli and Saudi leaders, who are skeptical about the nuclear deal with Iran, a senior administration official said on Tuesday.
Obama will talk to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has described the accord as a "historic mistake," and with Saudi Arabia's King Salman, the official said.
14:00 GMT: The United Arab Emirates Tuesday welcomed the historic nuclear deal agreed by world powers and Iran, with an official saying it could turn a "new page" for the Gulf region.
"Iran could play a (significant) role in the region if it revises its policy and stops interfering in the internal affairs of countries like Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen," a UAE official said in the first reaction from the Gulf Arab monarchies to the Vienna accord.
13:03 GMT: Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday the lifting of sanctions on Iran after the nuclear deal with six world powers would contribute to the regional economy and would have a direct impact on Turkey.
Speaking at the same news conference in the Turkish capital Ankara, Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said the reaching of the deal and its implementation was necessary to bring stability to the region.
12:28 GMT: Iran's nuclear deal with world powers will mean "a happy day" if it stops the country gaining a nuclear arsenal, but the agreement would prove bad if it allowed Tehran to "wreak havoc in the region", a Saudi official said on Tuesday.
The official told Reuters Iran had destabilized the whole Middle East through its activities in Iraq, Syria, Lebanonand Yemen and added that if the deal allowed it concessions, the region would become more dangerous.
12:11 GMT: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani tweets: "To our neighbours: Do not be deceived by the propaganda of the warmongering Zionist regime. #Iran & its power will translate into your power."
He also says: "Region's security is our security. Region's stability is our stability. Likewise, our progress is that of the region & will only benefit it."
11:11 GMT: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad congratulated top regional ally Iran on a nuclear deal reached with world powers on Tuesday, Syrian state news agency SANA said. Iran has backed Assad throughout Syria's four-year conflict.
10:50 GMT: Israel receives official copy of Iran nuclear deal text and will begin studying the material.
10:42 GMT: Iran's nuclear deal is "great news" for the Turkish economy as it is likely to boost bilateral trade, Turkish Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek said on Tuesday.
"Iran nuclear deal is a great news for the Turkish economy," he wrote in English on his official Twitter account. "It's likely to boost trade and investments between the two countries."
10:18 GMT: Netanyahu sends message to all of the opposition leaders, calling on them not to engage in petty politics.
10:11 GMT: Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid slams the deal: “We thought it was a bad deal, but it is in fact a terrible deal. This agreement allows Iran to continue developing nuclear weapons, only this time with the help of the international community.”
“Ask yourself one question. If everyone believes that the Iranians will fulfill their part of the agreement, how come they were so opposed to the idea of snap inspections? And why is it that the Americans and the P5+1 have agreed that there will be no snap inspections? If the Iranians intended to be trustworthy, they would have approved and even encouraged unannounced inspections — because that could have been a way of showing the world that they intend to stand by the agreement — but they don’t.,” he said.
09:54 GMT: Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon: "This evil regime employs terror, funds terror, arms terror and disseminates terror across the world. The agreement signed with Iran will only serve to further support this bloody enterprise."
09:52 GMT: Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog blames the Israeli PM for the emerging nuclear accord, stating: "Israel's interests were abandoned because of Netanyahu's personal rift with US President Barack Obama."
09:18 GMT: Turkish energy minister says Iran nuclear deal is a "very positive development."
09:05 GMT: Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett says on Twitter that the agreement has spawned a “terror nuclear superpower" and that Israel will not hesitate to defend itself.
08:24 GMT: Cabinet member Miri Regev (Likud) says expected nuclear deal gives Iran a "license to kill."
The deal is “bad for the free world (and) bad for humanity."
08:00 GMT: Netanyahu calls deal a "bad mistake of historic proportions."
"Iran is going to receive a sure path to nuclear weapons. Many of the restrictions that were supposed to prevent it from getting there will be lifted," Netanyahu said at the start of a meeting with Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders in Jerusalem.
"Iran will get a jackpot, a cash bonanza of hundreds of billions of dollars, which will enable it to continue to pursue its aggression and terror in the region and in the world. This is a bad mistake of historic proportions."
07:55 GMT: Israel's former FM Avigdor Lieberman says expected deal is a "complete capitulation to terrorism."
07:30 GMT: Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely issues a special statement following initial reports a deal was reached: "This agreement is a historic surrender by the West to the axis of evil led by Iran.”
“The implications of the agreement in the foreseeable future are very severe, Iran will continue disseminating its metastasizing terror cells in all directions, will continue to inflame the Middle East and worst of all – will take a huge step toward becoming a nuclear threshold state. Israel will use all diplomatic means in order to prevent the confirmation of the agreement,” she said.
07:23 GMT: Israel's opposition party co-head Tzipi Livni describes deal as “a dramatic agreement, and Israel is not there.”
"If this were a military campaign and Netanyahu was in the opposition he would tear a political coupon from it, but we will not do it now,” Livni told Army Radio.
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