‘Downright Dangerous’: Netanyahu Blasts JCPOA Talks Following Erbil Strike
03:31 GMT 14.03.2022 (Updated: 17:25 GMT 15.01.2023)
© AP Photo / Maya AlleruzzoFormer Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to right-wing opposition party members, at the Knesset, Israel's parliament, in Jerusalem on June 14, 2021.
© AP Photo / Maya Alleruzzo
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) of Iran claimed responsibility for a nocturnal missile attack on the Iraqi city of Erbil on Saturday. The strike was reported to have been aimed against Israel's "strategic center," according to Tehran.
Former Israeli PM and current opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu chastised world powers who are still negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran amid a recent missile strike near the US consulate in Iraqi Kurdistan.
In video messages posted to social media on Sunday evening in both Hebrew and English, Netanyahu claimed it was "absurd" for countries in nuclear negotiations to continue to debate with Tehran in Vienna, while addressing Israelis and Americans, respectively.
"The desperate rush to sign this flawed nuclear agreement with Iran is not only absurd, it’s downright dangerous," Netanyahu declared in his English-language video, posted with the caption, "Every American family should watch this video."
"Yesterday, Iran fired missiles in the vicinity of the American consulate in Iraq, and the US continues to charge ahead, along with the other powers, to sign a nuclear agreement that will give the ayatollahs a nuclear arsenal,” the ex-prime minister claimed.
Every American family should watch this video. pic.twitter.com/BVo5ZFJwKk— Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) March 13, 2022
According to him, a new nuclear deal with Iran "would also relieve sanctions and give them hundreds of billions of dollars in order to continue the terror that they waged yesterday and wage every day throughout the Middle East and the world."
"This agreement is even worse than its predecessor, because in three years’ time, under this agreement, Iran will be a threshold nuclear state. It will have enough enriched uranium to create dozens and dozens of nuclear bombs and it will have the ICBMs [intercontinental ballistic missiles] to deliver them to any place in the United States," he asserted.
Netanyahu, who remains under a high-profile cloud of corruption litigation, accused what he characterized as the "surrender government of Bennett, Lapid, and Gantz" of being mute and doing nothing "instead of going out and fighting this, on every stage, at every forum," in the Hebrew version of his video message, per the Times of Israel.
"[...] when we return to power — soon, please God — we will come out against this agreement, we will act against it as we have before, and we will do everything we can to protect the State of Israel and the future of the Jewish people," the former prime minister pledged. "That is my personal promise."
When Netanyahu was in government, he was an outspoken opponent of the original 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action deal, giving a speech against it to a joint session of the US Congress. In June 2021, Netanyahu claimed that Naftali Bennett, who succeeded him as the prime minister that month, would bow to US pressure to return to the Iran nuclear deal.
According to Netanyahu, the deal is "not merely unacceptable, it endangers not only my country, Israel, but your country, the United States, and the entire world. We should not let an aggressive rogue terrorist regime like Iran have nuclear weapons. Have we learned nothing?"
The final details of the developing nuclear deal between Iran and world powers are still being worked out, according to reports.
Iranian and EU officials this Friday said that talks on resurrecting the nuclear deal, which had reportedly been close to conclusion, had been placed on pause, citing "external factors." One of the reasons for the halt could reportedly be a decision by US authorities to arrest two Greek ships transporting "Iranian oil."
13 March 2022, 12:16 GMT
For months, diplomats in Vienna, Austria, have been discussing the resurrection of the nuclear deal, which the US withdrew from in 2018 under then-President Donald Trump. In response to the withdrawal from the deal, Iran announced that it would step up its uranium enrichment process and continue its nuclear research programs.
According to the Israeli media reports, Prime Minister Bennett has spoken out against the agreement on several occasions, but has not taken Netanyahu's hawkish posture in negotiations with US officials.
"Our position regarding the agreement is well-known. The disadvantages of the agreement far outweigh its advantages. In any case, the agreement does not obligate the State of Israel in any way," he reportedly said at his cabinet meeting last week.
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