Break out the champagne – the Iran nuke deal has been reached! Unless you’re Israeli – then you can break out the anger. And unless you’re one of those people who looks more than 6 months into the future – then you can break out the mild enthusiasm because the nuke deal is only an interim pact.
Still, the not-yet-finalized six-month interim nuke deal is a big step towards Iran not blowing everybody up! After lengthy negotiations in Geneva between Iran and the P5+1 countries, the countries reached a temporary nuke deal under which Iran would dismantle its military nuclear capabilities and the other countries would lift some of the sanctions imposed on Iran by the UN, US and the European Union.
And while under the deal Iran will have to give inspectors greater access to its key nuclear sites, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is still a little skeptical about Iran’s compliance. Kerry hopes that the nuke deal will keep Iran’s nuclear program in check until a more permanent deal can be reached, but he acknowledged on Sunday that enforcing the agreement could be more difficult than reaching it in the first place.
“The next phase, let me be clear, will be even more difficult, and we need to be honest about it,” he said.
And while Kerry is taking a cautious approach, there is one guy who isn’t afraid to say the nuke deal blows: Iran’s arch-nemesis, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“This is a bad agreement,” said Netanyahu’s office, in a statement hours after the nuke deal was signed.
“It gives Iran exactly what it wanted — a significant easing of sanctions and allows it to keep hold of the most essential parts of its nuclear programme.”
“The agreement allows Iran to continue enriching uranium and leaves all the centrifuges in place which allow it to create fissile material for nuclear weapons.”
Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz agreed, saying the nuke deal was likely to bring Iran “closer” rather than further away from building a bomb.
“The current deal … is more likely to bring Iran closer to having a bomb. Israel cannot participate in the international celebration, which is based on Iranian deception and world self-delusion,” he said.
But there’s nothing that a little phone call from President Obama can’t cure (except this). Obama rang up Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Sunday afternoon to offer his assurances that Israel would be consulted in the Iranian nuclear deal. They might not listen to him, but he’ll be consulted. Obama also assured him that the U.S. “will remain firm in our commitment to Israel, which has good reason to be skeptical about Iran’s intentions.” Although if this is anything like his assurance that Americans could keep their healthcare plans, maybe Israel does have good reason to be worried…