(JTA) — Israel will not accept an agreement that allows Iran to develop nuclear weapons, and it demands Iran recognize Israel’s right to exist, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu’s statement Friday came hours after Iran and six world powers announced they have reached a framework agreement in negotiations on lifting some sanctions against Iran in exchange for a scaling back of Iran’s nuclear program.
“Israel will not accept an agreement which allows a country that vows to annihilate us to develop nuclear weapons, period,” Netanyahu said in what could be interpreted as a threat to act against Iran.
Israel further demands that any final agreement with Iran include “a clear and unambiguous Iranian recognition” of Israel’s right to exist, Netanyahu also said. Iranian officials have repeatedly called for Israel’s destruction.
President Barack Obama called Netanyahu on the telephone Thursday to say that the framework “represents significant progress towards a lasting, comprehensive solution that cuts off all of Iran’s pathways to a bomb and verifiably ensures the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program going forward.”
The United States is a leading force in the forum of six world powers negotiating with Iran.
Israel opposes the terms of the framework agreement, because it allows Iran to retain some infrastructure that could be used for producing nuclear arms if Iran chooses to violate the framework’s terms. In recent months, this issue has clouded U.S.-Israel relations.
Building on the Obama administration’s jargon, Netanyahu said the deal “does not block Iran’s path to the bomb.
Such a deal paves Iran’s path to the bomb, and it might very well spark a nuclear arms race throughout the Middle East, and it would greatly increase the risks of terrible war.”
Netanyahu also said: “This deal would pose a grave danger to the region and to the world and would threaten the very survival of the State of Israel.”