Israeli officials reject Obama’s claim that they now agree on Iran deal’s successes

P.Israeli Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and several other senior Israeli officials strongly reject President Obama’s assertion Thursday that Israeli defense officials now agree that the Iran nuclear deal was a “game changer.” and that Tehran has so far respected the constraints set out in the agreement.

“I don’t know which Israelis (Obama) spoke to recently,” said an Israeli minister.

Obama, at a Pentagon news conference Thursday, touted the nuclear deal, arguing that “all these horror stories about how Iran was going to cheat and it wasn’t going to work” didn’t happen. not materialized.

“And it’s not just about the assessment of our intelligence community, it’s about the assessment of the Israeli military and intelligence community,” he said.

He then amplified the message, referring to Israel: “The country that was most opposed to the agreement recognized that it was a game changer, that Iran respected the agreement and that it no longer the short-term disruptive capacity it needs. this would allow them to develop nuclear weapons,” he said.

Netanyahu, who aggressively opposed the deal as the United States and other world powers negotiated it, issued a statement Friday saying Israel’s position had not changed on the deal. agreement, according to an article in the Times of Israel.

The prime minister stressed that Israel “has no greater ally than the United States,” but said Israel’s position on the Iran nuclear deal “remains unchanged.”

Now that the deal is signed, he said, it is important for allies to work together to achieve three goals: holding Iran’s feet to the fire to ensure it does not violate the deal ; confronting Iran’s regional aggression; and dismantle Iran’s global terrorist network.

Netanyahu then tried to emphasize the positive side, saying he “looks forward to translating these goals into a common policy and further strengthening the alliance between Israel and the United States, with President Obama and with the next administration American”.

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman echoed statements made by his predecessor when signing the deal last summer, comparing it to the 1938 Munich Accords, a settlement that annexed parts of the Czechoslovakia to Germany.

“The Munich Accords did not prevent World War II and the Holocaust, according to which Nazi Germany could be a partner for some sort of agreement, but were wrong, and because world leaders then ignored the explicit statements by (Adolf) Hitler and the rest of the leaders of Nazi Germany,” the ministry said.

“These things are also true about Iran, which clearly and openly states that its goal is to destroy the State of Israel,” he said, referring to a recent State Department report which determined that Iran is the number one state sponsor of terrorism in the world.

Likud Minister Tzachi Hanegbi went much further, completely rejecting Obama’s claims, arguing that his country’s concerns were entirely “justified” over the past year.

“I don’t know which Israelis (Obama) has spoken to recently,” Hanegbi said. “But I can promise you that the position of the prime minister, the defense minister and most senior members of the defense establishment has not changed.”

“The opposite is happening,” he added. “The time that has passed since the signing of the agreement has proven that our concerns, which we unfortunately had before the agreement was concluded, were justified.”

The White House Friday in an email to Washington Examiner refers to the 2016 Israeli national intelligence estimate, which shows a “low probability of war” despite certain “risks” and “opportunities”.

The annual NIE is the result of joint efforts of Israeli military intelligence with input from the research departments of Mossad, the external spy agency, and the Israeli Security Agency, the domestic service.

A Jerusalem Post editorial analyzing the NIE said the Iran nuclear deal is seen by the Israeli military as “a kind of opportunity, in stark contrast to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s perception and rhetoric.”

“The nuclear agreement has advantages,” says the newspaper’s editorial team, citing IDF sources. “It’s true, a better deal could have been reached, and there is a bit of frustration because the deal doesn’t take into account Iranian involvement and its efforts to increase its hegemonic aspirations in the region.”

“But the fact is that the amount of enriched uranium has been significantly reduced, as has the number of centrifuges, and Iran’s ability to produce plutonium in its Arak nuclear reactor has also been dismantled,” writes the post. “These are spectacular developments that you can’t argue with.”

Some of Hanegbi’s criticisms so far are not based on hard statistics or Iran’s compliance. He went on to say the nuclear deal gave Tehran international legitimacy and boosted its economy, without limiting its support for terrorist groups.

“The Western world is lining up and chasing the Iranian economy. Western companies that have stayed away from Iran for decades are now competing with each other for the rights to enter Iranian markets,” Hanegbi said. “And we see that the Iranian regime is gaining legitimacy even though it has not changed its policy of continued support for radical sources in the Middle East, including terrorist groups such as Islamic Jihad, Hamas and Hezbollah. »

He also highlighted Iran’s continued efforts to develop ballistic missiles, in violation of several UN Security Council resolutions.

“We tried to convince the U.S. administration throughout the negotiations that they had leverage over the Iranian negotiating team, that they could be tough and strong and resolute and make sure that all these issues that I come from to mention be negotiated as part of a comprehensive agreement The Iran nuclear deal… because its economy was on its knees,” he said.

“I don’t think there is a single Israeli who thinks that this policy of separating the nuclear issue from other issues was right,” he said.

Because the United States did not use the influence it had at the time to extract more concessions, Hanegbi said the next U.S. president could face a nuclear Iran.

“President Obama clearly stated that Iran would not have nuclear weapons during his presidency. It’s true,” he said. “But he signed a deal that will mean that after the next president, the president will be faced with an Iran with nuclear capabilities that cannot be blocked or detained, because it will only take them a few weeks to produce the fissile material needed for a first bomb.”