Israeli officials this week were increasingly perplexed by the terms of an emerging nuclear deal between Iran and Western powers led by America. The self-imposed deadline to reach an agreement is tomorrow, March 31.
That talks are coming down to the wire likely suits Iran, which knows that the Obama Administration, at least, is desperate for a diplomatic achievement and might be willing to sign off even on what Israel would consider a “bad deal.”
“This agreement confirms all our fears and exceeds them,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his cabinet on Sunday.
The currently known terms of the agreement would leave Iran with at least 6,000 centrifuges capable of producing enriched uranium, and would largely trust Iran to keep its word that the uranium would be shipped to Russia.
“You don’t need to be an intelligence officer to see Iran is lying barefacedly, and is today the greatest danger to the stability of the Middle East,” added Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon.
Both Netanyahu and Ya’alon pointed out that even as America and the West are negotiating this misguided deal, Iran is busy extending its dangerous influence around the Middle East.
Last week, an Iranian-backed militia seized control of Yemen, much to the chagrin of neighboring states like Saudi Arabia, which has since launched a military offensive against the rebels.
“Iran’s proxies in Yemen are conquering large swaths of land in an effort to overtake the Bab al-Mandab straits, so that they can change the balance of power in shipping oil,” warned Netanyahu.
Should the Western powers sign the nuclear agreement in its current form, Israeli Interior Minister Gilad Erdan told Army Radio that the Jewish state would “need to reassess the whole resulting security situation.”
A senior Israeli security official who spoke to the Walla news portal said the deal would affirm that Israel cannot trust Washington when it comes to security and stability in the region. “We know that the United States will ignore the topic of Iran’s (nuclear) development proliferation and distribution of weapons, and its involvement in terrorism in the Middle East,” he said.