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Netanyahu says Israel not bound by Iran deal as he hints at military strike

Israeli-Prime-Minister-Benjamin-Netanyahu-AFP-800x430Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu makes a statement to the press about negotiations with Iran at his office in Jerusalem on April 1, 2015. (AFP)

Netanyahu’s harsh criticism of the agreement came after he warned for months that the deal being negotiated would not prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

 While analysts say unilateral military action by Israel seems unlikely for now, Netanyahu and other officials have kept the option on the table.

“Israel is not bound by this deal with Iran, and Israel is not bound by this deal with Iran because Iran continues to seek our destruction,” Netanyahu told reporters before a meeting of his security cabinet.

“We will always defend ourselves.”

Netanyahu called the nuclear deal a “historic mistake”, and the accord drew strong criticism from across the Israeli political spectrum.

“We did commit to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, and this commitment still stands,” Netanyahu said earlier on Tuesday, even before the agreement was officially announced.

He has taken his campaign to the US Congress and the UN General Assembly, but ultimately failed to block the agreement.

The deal puts strict limits on Iran’s nuclear activities for at least a decade and calls for stringent UN oversight, with world powers hoping that this will make any dash to make an atomic bomb virtually impossible.

– ‘Agreement is a tragedy’ –

In return, painful international sanctions that have slashed the oil exports of OPEC’s fifth-largest producer by a quarter and choked its economy will be lifted and billions of dollars in frozen assets unblocked.

“You can’t prevent an agreement when those negotiating it are prepared to make more and more concessions to those shouting ‘Death to the United States’ even as the talks are in progress,” Netanyahu said.

“Iran will get hundreds of billions of dollars with which it will be able to fuel its terror machine,” he said, referring to the expected lifting of sanctions.

Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon accused the six powers that negotiated the deal — Britain, France, the United States, Germany, China and Russia — of needlessly caving in to Tehran.

“Iran, who arrived at the negotiating table in a weak position, has emerged victorious,” he said.


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