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Israeli leaders condemn Iran deal, ‘one of the darkest days in world history’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu predicted the nuclear agreement with Iran would allow the country to continue seeking nuclear weapons. (Reuters)

Israeli leaders across the political spectrum condemned in stark apocalyptic language the Iranian nuclear pact announced by the United States and world powers Tuesday, calling it a historic mistake that frees Iran to sponsor global terrorism while assembling the expertise to build a nuclear bomb.“Iran is going to receive a sure path to nuclear weapons,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. “Many of the restrictions that were supposed to prevent it from getting there will be lifted.”

With the removal of economic sanctions, Netanyahu warned, “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.”

Netanyahu’s hard-line coalition partner, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, added: “Today a terrorist nuclear superpower is born, and it will go down as one of the darkest days in world history.”

Netanyahu’s fellow Likud member, Science Minister Danny Danon, said the Iran pact “is like providing a pyromaniac with matches.”

The condemnations are not new. Netanyahu has led a tireless campaign against the prospects of a deal, including an address before the U.S. Congress in March to hammer home Israel’s worries over Iran — whose leaders often have called for the annihilation of the Jewish state.

The rifts with Washington over the Iran talks have led to rare open tensions between the allies.

Hours after the deal was reached in Vienna, Secretary of State John F. Kerry told NBC that he thought Netanyahu was wrong and that the prime minister had been “making comments that are way over the top.”

Kerry said “Israel is safer” as a result of the nuclear accord.

“This is under attack by people who really don’t know the terms of the agreement,” Kerry told the network.

Later, a White House statement said President Obama called Netanyahu to stress that the nuclear ­accord does not undercut U.S. “concerns regarding Iran’s support for terrorism and threats toward Israel.”

Critics of Israel point out that the country has an undeclared, but widely suspected, ­nuclear program that is not under international monitoring. Israel is not a signer of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the U.N. accord overseeing the spread of nuclear technology. Iran is a member.

Israeli social media accounts were filled with images of Neville Chamberlain, the British prime minister who pushed a policy of appeasement toward Adolf Hitler and the Nazis on the eve of World War II.

Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders blasted the deal even as negotiators in Vienna were still making the announcement and providing details.

“Israel will defend itself,” Bennett warned, vowing that military action is still an option for the Jewish state.Like-minded Israelis feel they are in the crosshairs of a belligerent enemy — last week, protesters in Tehran were chanting “Death to Israel!”


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