Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke Tuesday evening with US President Barack Obama, following the deal signed between world powers and Tehran over the latter’s nuclear program.
According to Israeli government sources, Netanyahu used the opportunity to express Israel’s concerns regarding the nuclear deal with Iran.
Warning the agreement threatened the State of Israel’s security, Netanyahu stressed two central concerns.
First and foremost, he noted that it will still mean Iran can produce nuclear weapons at a future date – whether in 10-15 years’ time when the deal’s limitations expire, or by breaking its commitments before that time.
In addition, Netanyahu said, it will funnel hundreds of billions to the terror machine, and the Iranian war that threatens Israel and the entire world.
In response to the report, the White House itself released a summary of Obama’s response:
Obama noted that the JCPOA will verifiably prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon while ensuring the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program going forward.
The President also underscored his Administration’s stalwart commitment to Israel’s security and noted that the JCPOA will remove the specter of a nuclear-armed Iran, an outcome in the national security interest of the United States and Israel. The President told the Prime Minister that today’s agreement on the nuclear issue will not diminish our concerns regarding Iran’s support for terrorism and threats toward Israel.
The President noted that Secretary of Defense Ash Carter’s visit next week to Israel is a reflection of the unprecedented level of security cooperation between the United States and Israel, and that the visit offers a further opportunity to continue our close consultation on security issues with Israeli counterparts as we remain vigilant in countering the Iranian regime’s destabilizing activities in the region.
Earlier Tuesday, Prime Minister Netanyahu launched a fierce attack on the deal, calling it a “stunning, historic mistake” and stressing that Israel is not bound by it.
Obama, for his part, has hailed the deal as a victory.
However, after repeatedly missing deadlines the agreement must now be approved by Congress – where a skeptical Republican majority will likely seek to scupper it.
Netanyahu will likely be leading efforts encouraging them to do so – as well as enlisting many Democrats equally uneasy about the extent of concessions to Iran.
If that happens, Obama will be forced into the uncomfortable position of having to choose between abandoning the deal or vetoing Congress – with the latter, highly controversial move looking his most likely option.