JERUSALEM (CBS DC/AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is calling the emerging nuclear deal “the deal of the century” for Iran.
Netanyahu is condemning the emerging deal between western powers and Iran that would cap some of the Tehran regime’s nuclear program in exchange for limited relief from economic sanctions. He made the comments Friday before meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry in Jerusalem.
“I understand the Iranians are walking around very satisfied in Geneva as well they should because they got everything and paid nothing,” Netanyahu said. “They wanted relief of sanctions after years of grueling sanctions, they got that. They paid nothing because they are not reducing in any way their nuclear enrichment capability. So Iran got the deal of the century and the international community got a bad deal.”
Netanyahu stated that Israel “utterly rejects” this deal.
“This is a very bad deal and Israel utterly rejects it. Israel is not obliged by this agreement and Israel will do everything it needs to do to defend itself and defend the security of its people,” Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu noted that Iranians were still chanting “Death to America” leading up to the proposed nuclear deal.
“We heard the chants ‘Death to America’ two days ago again in Tehran, and this is, I believe, the true face of this regime or the person who controls this regime, the so-called ‘Supreme Leader,’” Netanyahu said. “I think such a regime must not have the world’s most dangerous weapons.”
Kerry flew to Geneva following his meeting with Netanyahu. After arriving in Switzerland, Kerry stated that no nuclear deal has been reached yet with Iran and that there are gaps that still need to be bridged.
Tehran’s chief nuclear negotiator, Abbas Araghchi, told Iranian state TV on Thursday that the six – the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany – “clearly said that they accept the proposed framework by Iran.” He later told CNN that he thinks negotiators at the table are now “ready to start drafting” an accord that outlines specific steps to be taken.
Though Araghchi described the negotiations as “very difficult,” he told Iranian state TV that he expected agreement on details by Friday, the last scheduled round of the current talks.
President Barack Obama, in an interview with NBC News on Thursday, described any sanctions relief as “modest” but said core sanctions against Iran would remain in place.
“Our job is not to trust the Iranians,” Obama said. “Our job is to put in place mechanisms where we can verify what they’re doing and not doing when it comes to their nuclear program.”
International negotiators representing the six powers declined to comment on Araghchi’s statement. Bur White House spokesman Jay Carney elaborated on what the U.S. calls a “first step” of a strategy meant to ultimately contain Iran’s ability to use its nuclear program to make weapons.
An initial agreement would “address Iran’s most advanced nuclear activities; increase transparency so Iran will not be able to use the cover of talks to advance its program; and create time and space as we negotiate a comprehensive agreement,” Carney told reporters in Washington.
The six would consider “limited, targeted and reversible relief that does not affect our core sanctions,” he said, alluding to penalties crippling Tehran’s oil exports. If Iran reneges, said Carney, “the temporary, modest relief would be terminated, and we would be in a position to ratchet up the pressure even further by adding new sanctions.”
He described any temporary, initial relief of sanctions as likely “more financial rather than technical.” Diplomats have previously said initial sanction rollbacks could free Iranian funds in overseas accounts and allow trade in gold and petrochemicals.
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