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Netanyahu: Israel will not be bound by any Iran deal

Israel's opposition to renewing the 2015 nuclear agreement is working, but "differences of outlook" remain with Washington, said Israel's premier.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chair MK Yuli Edelstein, Jerusalem, June 13, 2023. Photo by Haim Zach (GPO).
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chair MK Yuli Edelstein, Jerusalem, June 13, 2023. Photo by Haim Zach (GPO).

Israel’s prime minister said on Tuesday that any agreement reached with Iran regarding its nuclear program will not be binding on Jerusalem.

“Our position is clear: No agreement with Iran will be binding on Israel, which will continue to do everything to defend itself,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the start of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, his first appearance there since the current government took power.

Israel’s stance on the matter was having an impact, he said, but there was still a gap.

“Our opposition to a return to the original agreement, I think it is working, but there are still differences of outlook and we do not hide them, also about smaller agreements. We enunciate our policy clearly both openly and in closed rooms,” Netanyahu continued.

Israel has expressed concerns about a potential interim nuclear deal between Washington and Tehran. A U.S. official on Monday denied that an agreement was in the works, saying that messages calling for confidence-building measures had been relayed to the regime.

Netanyahu’s statement on Tuesday echoed a conversation he had last week with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in which he conveyed the message that “no arrangement with Iran will obligate Israel, which will do everything to defend itself.”

At the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting, Netanyau laid out a two-pronged foreign policy approach to the region that includes countering Iran and its proxies while simultaneously expanding the Abraham Accords.

Iran has “completely replaced the Arab world in hostility to Israel and aspires to our destruction… Over 90% of our security problems stem from Iran and its proxies, and our policy is aimed at increasing the circle of peace, to stop Iran and its proxies,” the premier stated.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who openly calls for Israel’s destruction, said on Sunday that Western powers would not be able to prevent his country from obtaining nuclear weapons.

He then denied Iran was seeking nuclear weapons at all.

“Accusations about Tehran seeking nuclear weapons are a lie and they know it. We do not want nuclear arms because of our religious beliefs. Otherwise, they [the West] would not have been able to stop it,” he said, according to Iranian state media.

Netanyahu said that Israel was “working energetically to expand the circle of peace” while working to stop Iran. 

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