The Iran nuclear deal signed Sunday in Geneva made Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unhappy and maintains that military options are still possible despite the agreement. In a historic meeting of representatives from the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council on one side and Iran on the other, the deal calls for Iran to suspend its reactor construction as well as limit its uranium enrichment program. In exchange, the international sanctions imposed on Iran will be eased.
Representing Iran in the deal is Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Members of the UN Security Council are China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, UK’s Foreign Secretary William Hague and US Secretary of State John Kerry.
As part of the deal, Iran will suspend its nuclear activities for six months, freezing the country’s ability to enrich uranium at the 5 percent level maximum. This is below the level needed for weapons-grade material. An international team of observers will be allowed in the country to see to it that Iran complies with the agreement.
Israel Not Happy With the Deal
Although the Iran nuclear deal was viewed by many as a path to reducing tension and promoting peace in the Middle East and the world, Netanyahu criticized the deal saying that instead of peace it will promote more instability.
Speaking before his Cabinet, Netanyahu said that with the deal the world became a “more dangerous place.” He repeated his earlier position that a military action is still possible against Iran if Israel is threatened even with the deal in effect. Netanyahu said that his country has the right to defend itself if threatened.
Israel maintains that all enrichment activities by Iran should be stopped and not just minimized or limited. Aside from this, Iran should totally stop producing uranium. Netanyahu also believes that instead of easing the economic sanctions on Iran it should be increased. Iran will just trick the world and will soon be building nuclear bombs without the international community knowing about it, added Netanyahu.
Israel’s feeling of hostility towards Iran can be traced to Iran’s repeated threat of destroying Israel, its continuous development of long range missiles and its continued support of militant groups sowing terror in Israel.
Support for the Deal
On the other hand, Kuwait and Qatar praised the recent agreement reached with Iran saying that this is a step toward ensuring security and peace will be achieved in the Middle East. The two countries likewise echoed the sentiment that the region should be a “nuclear-weapon-free zone” in the soonest possible time.
Saudi Arabia, another Sunni Arab nation like Kuwait and Qatar, had not yet issued a comment as of early Monday over the deal yet in the past Saudi Arabia has shared Israel’s suspicion over the real intentions of Iran especially with regard to making atomic weapons. Saudi Arabia in the past also accused Iran of supporting Shiite Muslims that caused unrest across the Middle East.
The European Council through President Herman Van Rompuy meanwhile expressed optimism toward the deal saying that the deal will guarantee that the nature of Iran’s nuclear program should just be used for peaceful ends. Other positive comments and praises came from the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Iraq and Syria. The current UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also lauded the efforts and the results reached during Geneva pact and say that this is an “encouraging start.” For Netanyahu, the Iran nuclear deal is more like a “historic mistake” and maintains that military options are still possible for his country if threatened.
By Roberto I. Belda