Netanyahu: Bad Iran Deal a ‘Historic Mistake’

Iran 'nowhere near' accepting dismantling nuclear weapons program

November 23, 2014

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the United States and other powers would make a "historic mistake" by accepting a deal with Iran that does not dismantle its capacity to make a nuclear bomb—something it is "nowhere near accepting" in the negotiations thus far.

Netanyahu urged the U.S. to avoid making a bad deal with Iran that would leave its nuclear program intact:

Don't dismantle sanctions before you dismantle Iran's capacity to make a nuclear bomb. And as I understand it, the Iranians are nowhere near to accepting that and if for any reason the United States and the other powers agree to leave Iran with that capacity to break out, I think that would be a historic mistake not only because it endangers my country, Israel--that Iran's ruler, the Ayatollah Khameini wants to annihilate--but endangers the entire middle east and the world.

Netanyahu warned that if talks fail before Monday, another interim deal would simply give Iran ample time to continue enrichment and improve its economy.

"I think the Iranians have used the interim deal to develop other elements of their program. It's true they haven't raised the enrichment to the 20% level and beyond, but they have done other things and they're doing things that we don't know about," Netanyahu said.

"Iran has been using--using the hiatus to improve its economy. Its economy has improved, inflation has gone down substantially. There have been cash infusions of billions of dollars into the Iranian economy, but they still are suffering under sanctions."

Netanyahu also advocated for tougher sanctions on Iran if they refused to cooperate with the IAEA.

"The International Atomic Energy Agency says that Iran refused to divulge the aims of its secret military nuclear program," Netanyahu said. "I would, in fact, rather than making a bad deal, I would just continue the sanctions regime--even toughen the sanctions regime--and get Iran to make the concessions it needs to make to make sure that they don't have the capacity to make nuclear weapons."