Friday 23 March 2018

Israel slams Iran nuclear deal and accuses US of ‘self-delusion’

Israel has harshly criticised the international community's nuclear deal with Iran, accusing the world of "self-delusion" and saying the first-stage agreement would not halt Tehran's pursuit of a nuclear weapon.

But officials acknowledged there was nothing they could do to stop the agreement, and said that Israel would do everything it could to shape the final deal that is to be negotiated during the next six months.

Israel believes Iran is trying to develop a nuclear weapon, and in the weeks leading up to the agreement, had warned the emerging deal was insufficient. It had called for increased pressure on Iran, and warned that any relief from economic sanctions would make Iran less willing to compromise down the road.

Israel's Cabinet minister for intelligence issues, Yuval Steinitz, said the last-minute changes to the deal were "far from satisfactory" and did nothing to change Israel's position.

"This agreement is still bad and will make it more difficult than before to achieve an appropriate solution in the future," he said. Instead, he compared it to a failed 2007 international deal with North Korea and said it "is more likely to bring Iran closer to having a bomb".

"Israel cannot participate in the international celebration, which is based on Iranian deception and (international) self-delusion," said Mr Steinitz, whose responsibilities include monitoring Iran's nuclear programme.

The exact details of the deal, hammered out in Geneva between six world powers and Iran, were not immediately known. Israel was not a participant in the talks but remained in close touch with the US and other allies during the negotiations.

Press Association

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