Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned on Sunday the framework Iranian nuclear agreement being sought by international negotiators, saying it was even worse than his country had feared.
Israel has mounted what it terms an "uphill battle" against an agreement that might ease sanctions on the Iranians while leaving them with a nuclear infrastructure with bomb-making potential. Tehran says its nuclear programme is peaceful.
"This deal, as it appears to be emerging, bears out all of our fears, and even more than that," Netanyahu told his cabinet in Jerusalem as the United States, five other world powers and Iran worked toward a March 31 deadline in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Noting advances made by Iranian-allied forces in Yemen and other Arab countries, Netanyahu accused the Islamic republic of trying to "conquer the entire Middle East" while moving toward nuclearisation.
"The Iran-Lausanne-Yemen axis is very dangerous to humanity, and must be stopped," he said.
Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz, the Israeli official who has been spearheading efforts to lobby world powers against the Iran deal, voiced cautious hope that the negotiations would collapse as they have in the past.
"We may still have a chance. We are not alone. There are still great doubts in the United States as well as in France, even in England," Steinitz told Israel Radio, referring to disputes with Iran over the scope of nuclear projects it might be allowed to retain.
“The agreement of concessions,” headline reads. “Israel is preparing for the day after the nuclear deal,” notes in its headline. Over in , the paper reports it straight, writing that diplomats insist that though progress has been made, several major hurdles remain.
The three dailies spotlight the jetting in of foreign ministers to Lausanne, in what is interpreted — despite protestations by unnamed diplomats on both sides that there is still a ways to go — as proof the deal is imminent.
In a column for Yedioth, Alex Fishman strongly disparages the deal, which he says would officially recognize Iran as a nuclear threshold state.
“This is a historic event that will define and influence the conduct of all Middle East states from here on out. It’s doubtful whether in two years someone will remember Barack Obama or John Kerry, who led this process, but the legacy of destruction they will leave behind in every corner they touched in the Middle East will accompany us for many long years,” he writes.
“In Basel, Switzerland in 1897, the Zionist vision was formed. In Lausanne, not far away from there, 118 years later, the vision of a nuclear Iran is being formed, which endangers that which was created then in Basel… After nearly 12 years of discussions, the world is seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. In Israel, by contrast, they see just darkness. A nuclear weapon in the hands of the ayatollahs? Surreal? Impossible? Frightening? From this Tuesday, it will be a fact on the ground. Totally insane,” he writes.
In Haaretz, Barak Ravid reports that Western and Iranian diplomats assess that a deal will be signed “as soon as today.” The main obstacles are the lifting of sanctions, which Iran demands go into effect immediately, and restricting research and development of centrifuges, the latter a demand by Israel and France, the paper reports.
The British has details of Motaghi's defection:
What Americans have a hard time understanding is that, for all the Iranian negotiators, the outcome of the nuclear arms deal that the United States is leading all comes down to just one man, Sayyed Ali-Khamenei, otherwise known as the Supreme Leader of Iran.
In the 21st century, it is hard to comprehend that a nation could be ruled by a man whose powers supersede that nation’s president, its civil government, its judiciary and its military. Iran has had only one other Supreme Leader since its founding in 1979, Ruhollah Khomeini who held the position until his death in 1989. The 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran overthrew the Shah in order to secure greater freedom, but the Iranians ended up more servile than before.
The negotiations have to be seen in the context of Iran’s daily cries of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.” They have to be seen in the context of a history of Iranian aggression against America and Israel that has included the bombing of our Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983, attacks on U.S. embassies and countless other examples of their bad intentions, not the least of which has been its sponsorship of two anti-Israel groups, Hezbollah in Lebanon and, to a lessor extent, Hamas in Gaza.
Any nuclear deal that permits Iran to continue to enrich enough uranium to make its own nuclear weapons is a very bad deal
Any nuclear deal that permits Iran to continue to enrich enough uranium to make its own nuclear weapons is a very bad deal. Netanyahu came to the U.S. at the invitation of Congress to make that point as the leader of the nation the Supreme Leader intends to destroy. We would be next.
All this is just slightly insane when one considers that President Obama has been obsessed with reaching an agreement with Iran before and since he took office in 2009. He has done everything possible to demonstrate his desire to remove the obstacles to conferring approval on Iran. In the process, he has made us look and be weak.
It is hopeful news, therefore, as reported in The Hill that “Congress is growing hostile to the emerging nuclear deal with Iran, leaving President Obama with little political cover as he approaches a critical deadline in the talks. Should a deal be reached, it would transform U.S. and Iranian relations and potentially give Obama the most important foreign policy achievement of his second term.”
His most significant foreign policy failure, however, has been his betrayal of Israel, the only ally in the Mideast that the U.S. truly has had. Declassifying information about Israel’s nuclear arms was pure treachery. That said, it was no secret and no doubt has protected Israel against apocalyptic destruction.
On March 26, the Washington Examiner reported “The Obama administration is giving in to Iranian demands about the scope of its nuclear program as negotiators work to finalize a framework agreement in the coming days, according to sources familiar with the administration’s position in the negotiations.”
You can be very sure that the Supreme Leader is watching this closely. If he can continue to get the kind of negotiations—an accord—that will result in Iran becoming a sanctions-free, nuclear-armed nation, he will permit the deal to proceed.
The Iranians, as always, will cheat on any deal to achieve this goal. Sadly, everyone at the table knows that, but Russia and China have strong economic reasons to pretend otherwise.
If the Supreme Leader gets what he wants the prospect for war in the Middle East would increase immeasurably. The threat level to the U.S. and Israel would be off the charts
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