As Netanyahu prepares to fight the Iran agreement in Congress, Israel is further planning talks to receives financial compensation from the US for the deal. Having it both ways?
Israeli leaders were not surprised by Tuesday's announcement of a deal ending the twelve year international standoff over Iran’s nuclear programme and are preparing to focus their efforts on stopping its approval in Congress. According to the Israeli press, Israel's diplomats were instructed to put an emphasis on loopholes in the agreement, concentrating on the technical details of the supervision mechanism and concessions made on Tehran's military programme.
"We'll put an emphasis on Iran's conduct - the burning of flags, not meeting their commitments," an official, who preferred to remain anonymous, said to Ynet, a popular news portal in Israel.
Israel, he added, will warn Congress that "within ten years, Iran will have a short nuclear breakout time, and until then it will continue funding terrorism, using the billions it will receive."
Israeli diplomats were instructed, however, to avoid condemning U.S. President Barack Obama's administration for pushing through the deal.
"There is no point in criticising the administration for now, because soon we will need to speak with the Americans about the amount of compensation to Israel,” another anonymous source told Arutz Sheva, an Israeli right wing news portal.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that "Iran is going to receive a sure path to nuclear weapons."
Netanyahu added that "Iran will get a jackpot, a cash bonanza of hundreds of billions of dollars, which will enable it to continue to pursue its aggression and terror in the region and in the world. This is a bad mistake of historic proportions."
Netanyahu's comments came at the start of a meeting with visiting Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders.
Israeli opposition leader Yitzchak Herzog (Zionist Union) criticized the agreement, blaming Netanyahu for failing to stop it. Speaking at a party meeting, Herzog said that Netanyahu had “failed” in allowing the Iranian deal to go through by not doing “everything possible” to stop it.
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid said Netanyahu's diplomatic campaign on the Iranian nuclear issue has been a "colossal failure." Earlier in the week, Lapid said that Israel was sidelined from the talks with Iran because the White House shut Netanyahu out.
Only the Knesset's Joint List welcomed the agreement, noting that "this is a victory of the will of the Iranian people, its struggle against the blockade and sanctions imposed on the country and his refusal to submit to international diktats.”
The Joint List further demanded a dismantling of Israel's nuclear arsenal in the framework of the agreements as the country refuses to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. The Joint List accused Israel of attempting to reamain the sole regional power with nuclear capacities and “to distract the international community from the occupation as the source of tension, war and instability in the Middle East.”