JERUSALEM (JTA) — The framework deal on Iran’s nuclear program is worse than Israeli leaders have feared, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his Cabinet.
“This agreement, as it appears, confirms all of our concerns and even more so,” Netanyahu said Sunday morning at the weekly Cabinet meeting.
Netanyahu also said he had just come from a conversation with Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and that he had spoken over the weekend with Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.).
“I heard from both of them about strong and continuing bipartisan support for Israel and of course this is very important. I expressed to them our deep concern over the agreement being formulated with Iran in the nuclear talks,” he said.
The United States and five other world powers, known as the P5+1, have set March 31 for reaching an agreement.
According to reports emerging over the weekend, Iran has agreed to limit uranium-enriching centrifuges to 6,000 at its main nuclear site for at least 10 years, as well as running centrifuges at its underground Fordo nuclear site. Nuclear material may be produced for energy, science and medicine. The sites would be subject to international inspection and no work could be done that would lead to a nuclear bomb.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met early Sunday morning in Lausanne, Switzerland, the site of the current talks, with his Iranian counterpart, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Kerry canceled a trip back to the United States, where he was to attend an event honoring the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, in order to remain at the talks.
Netanyahu also cited the takeover last week of large parts of Yemen by the Iran-allied Houthi militia.
“After the Beirut-Damascus-Baghdad axis, Iran is carrying out a pincers movement in the south as well in order to take over and conquer the entire Middle East,” he said. “The Iran-Lausanne-Yemen axis is very dangerous for humanity and needs to be stopped.”