Recog­ni­tion of Is­rael will not be part of Iran nu­clear agree­ment: Obama

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

U.S. Pres­i­dent Barack Obama has re­jected a call by Is­rael for any nu­clear agree­ment with Iran to be con­di­tional on Tehran’s recog­ni­tion of the Jewish state’s right to ex­ist, brand­ing it a “fun­da­men­tal mis­judg­ment.”

Speak­ing af­ter Is­rael pro­posed its own terms for the ac­cord, Obama told U.S. ra­dio net­work NPR Mon­day that de­mands for Iran to rec­og­nize the coun­try go be­yond the scope of the agree­ment.

“The no­tion that we would con­di­tion Iran not get­ting nu­clear weapons in a ver­i­fi­able deal on Iran rec­og­niz­ing Is­rael, is re­ally akin to say­ing that we won’t sign a deal un­less the na­ture of the Ira­nian regime com­pletely trans­forms,” he said in a drive to sell the deal to a hos­tile Congress.

“And that is, I think, a fun­da­men­tal mis­judg­ment.”

Is­rael’s gov­ern­ment re­acted an­grily to the his­toric frame­work agree­ment on Iran’s nu­clear pro­gram an­nounced last week, with a fi­nal ac­cord due by June 30.

Prime Min­is­ter Benjamin Ne­tanyahu de­manded Sun­day that Ira­nian recog­ni­tion of the Jewish state’s right to ex­ist be writ­ten into the agree­ment.

In­tel­li­gence Min­is­ter Yu­val Steinitz told jour­nal­ists Mon­day that while an ear­lier pledge by Obama to back Is­rael’s se­cu­rity was ap­pre­ci­ated, it did not out­weigh the po­ten­tial threat of a nu­clear-armed Iran.

“If Iran will pro­duce nu­clear weapons, this is an ex­is­ten­tial threat to Is­rael,” Steinitz said.

“No­body can tell us that back­ing and as­sis­tance are enough to com­pletely re­sist or to neu­tral­ize such a threat.”

Steinitz pro­posed that the emerg­ing deal be­tween Iran and world pow­ers should in­cor­po­rate a to­tal halt to re­search and devel­op­ment on a new gen­er­a­tion of cen­trifuges, a cut in the num­ber of ex­ist­ing cen­trifuges and clo­sure of the Fordo fa­cil­ity for en­rich­ment of ura­nium.

He also pro­posed that Tehran de­tail its past nu­clear arms re­search and al­low in­ter­na­tional in­spec­tors to make spot checks “any­where, any­time.”

If such terms were ac­cepted, Steinitz said, “it will not be a good agree­ment but it will be a more rea­son­able agree­ment.”

Un­der the out­line deal, the United States and the Euro­pean Union are to lift all nu­cle­ar­related sanc­tions on Iran in ex­change for a 98-per­cent cut in Iran’s stocks of highly en­riched ura­nium for 15 years, while its un­fin­ished Arak re­ac­tor will not pro­duce weapons- grade plu­to­nium.

The deal will also see Iran re­duce by roughly two-thirds — to 6,104 from around 19,000 — the num­ber of ura­nium cen­trifuges which can make fuel for nu­clear power but also the core of a nu­clear bomb.

Frame­work ‘danger­ous’ for

Is­rael

Steinitz said that since Thurs­day’s an­nounce­ment of­fi­cials have stud­ied the pro­pos­als care­fully.

“A com­pre­hen­sive anal­y­sis of the Lau­sanne frame­work re­veals the ex­tent of the ir­re­spon­si­ble con­ces­sions given to Iran and makes clear how danger­ous the frame­work is for Is­rael, the re­gion and the en­tire world,” he said.

“We are go­ing to do an ad­di­tional ef­fort to con­vince the U.S. ad­min­is­tra­tion, to con­vince Congress, to con­vince Bri­tain and France and Rus­sia not to sign this bad deal, or at least to dramatically change it and fix it.”

Steinitz said Is­rael pre­ferred a diplo­matic so­lu­tion to the is­sue but it re­served the right to take mil­i­tary ac­tion against Iran if nec­es­sary.

“It’s still on the ta­ble, it’s go­ing to re­main on the ta­ble,” he said.

“It’s our right and duty to de­cide how to de­fend our­selves, es­pe­cially if our na­tional se­cu­rity and even very ex­is­tence are un­der threat.”

Mean­while Saudi Ara­bia, which has long vied with Shi­ite Iran for in­flu­ence in the Gulf and the greater Mid­dle East, said Mon­day it hoped any fu­ture deal could bol­ster peace in the re­gion and end in­ter­fer­ence in Arab af­fairs.

A state­ment af­ter a weekly cabi­net meet­ing chaired by King Sal­man said Saudi Ara­bia “hopes the agree­ment will re­in­force se­cu­rity and sta­bil­ity in the re­gion and the world.”

But it in­sisted se­cu­rity hinged on “the re­spect of the prin­ci­ple of good neigh­borly re­la­tions and non-in­ter­fer­ence in Arab af­fairs,” said the Saudi Press Agency.

Arab states ac­cuse Iran of fu­elling a se­ries of proxy bat­tles in the Mid­dle East that have desta­bi­lized Syria, Iraq, Ye­men, Le­banon and other states.

Obama has in­vited lead­ers of the sev­eral Gulf states to Camp David in the near fu­ture in a bid to as­suage their con­cerns.

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