Netanyahu: Don’t deal with Iran while it calls for death to U.S., Israel


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, continuing his attack on the Iran nuclear deal, said the agreement has not changed Iran’s policy of calling for armed struggle against Israel and the United States.

“If someone thought that the extraordinary concessions to Iran would lead to a change in its policy, they received an unequivocal answer over the weekend in Iranian ruler [Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei’s aggressive and contrary speech,” Netanyahu said Sunday at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting.

On Saturday, Khamenei in a nationally televised speech praised the people of Iran for calling for death to America and Israel, and said he hoped Allah would answer their prayers. He also called the U.S. government “arrogant.”

“The Islamic Republic of Iran will not give up support of its friends in the region — the oppressed people of Palestine, of Yemen, the Syrian and Iraqi governments, the oppressed people of Bahrain and sincere resistance fighters in Lebanon and Palestine,” he said, adding: “Our policy will not change with regards to the arrogant U.S. government.”

Netanyahu said, “The Iranians aren’t even trying to hide the fact that they will use the hundreds of billions that they will receive under this agreement in order to arm their terror machine, and they are clearly saying that they will continue their struggle against the U.S. and its allies, first among them being Israel, of course.

“The agreement that was signed paves Iran’s way to arm itself with nuclear weapons within a decade, if Iran decides to honor the agreement, and before then if it decides to violate it, as it is usually does.”

The deal would remove international sanctions on Iran in exchange for Iran freezing and storing much of its nuclear infrastructure, ridding much of its stockpile of enriched uranium and converting its nuclear facilities for between 10 and 15 years.

Netanyahu said he believes a better strategy would have been to continue and strengthen sanctions on Iran, and condition any agreement on a change in policy.

“As long as the Iranian leadership is encouraging calls of ‘Death to America’ and ‘Death to Israel,'” he said, “there is no reason to make any concessions to them.”

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