Israel seeks to block agreement

Netanyahu calls it ‘mistake of historic proportion­s’

- Michele Chabin

JERUSALEM Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the nuclear deal announced by world powers and Iran on Tuesday a “mistake of historic proportion­s” and vowed to keep Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.

“I call on all of Israel’s leaders to set aside petty politics and to unite around the most fateful issue for the security of the state of Israel,” Netanyahu said.

Speaking to reporters in Jerusalem later Tuesday, the Israeli leader said his nation is not bound by the deal and reserves the right to defend itself.

The deal makes the world a “much more dangerous place,” Netanyahu said, adding it will free up billions of dollars that Iran can use to support terrorism.

President Obama called Netanyahu Tuesday, saying the agreement “will verifiably prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon while ensuring the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program going forward,” the White House said in a statement.

During the call, Obama “underscore­d his administra­tion’s stalwart commitment to Israel’s security,” the White House said.

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said Israel “will use all diplomatic means in order to prevent the confirmati­on of the agreement” which she called a “surrender by the West to the axis of evil led by Iran.”

Empowered by the agreement, Hotovely said, “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.”

Netanyahu has been an opponent of an agreement from the outset, contending that Iran cannot be trusted to honor the deal, which calls for curbs on Tehran’s nuclear program to ensure it is only for peaceful purposes.

The Israeli government plans to take its case for scuttling the deal to the U.S. Congress, which has 60 days to review it.

Secretary of State John Kerry told NBC News that Netanyahu was making over-the-top comments without having been fully briefed on the deal. “Israel is safer” as a result of Tuesday’s accord, Kerry said.

The mood among Jewish Israelis was downbeat following news that the deal was reached. Guy Prinz, an Israeli appliance salesman, predicted the agreement “is at most a quick fix because a year from now Iran won’t comply. It’s a bluff by Iran, which ... is bent on Israel’s destructio­n.”

However, Mohammed Purak, a Palestinia­n shopkeeper in Jerusalem’s Old City, said, “When it comes to Iran, any deal is better than no deal. Anything that can possibly prevent Iran from creating a bomb should be applauded.

“Truthfully, Palestinia­ns are much more concerned about the Israeli occupation and the situation in Gaza,” he added.

 ?? AHIKAM SERI, AFP/GETTY IMAGES ?? Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has opposed an agreement, says Iran cannot be trusted to honor the deal.
AHIKAM SERI, AFP/GETTY IMAGES Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has opposed an agreement, says Iran cannot be trusted to honor the deal.

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