TEL AVIV, Israel — Israeli officials came out swinging against a nuclear deal with Iran even before any official announcement on Tuesday.
“Iran is going to receive a sure path to nuclear weapons,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said before a meeting in Jerusalem. “Iran will get a jackpot, a cash bonanza of hundreds of billions of dollars, which will enable it to continue to pursue its aggression and terror in the region and in the world. This is a bad mistake of historic proportions.”
On Twitter, he added that Israel was committed to stopping Iran from developing a nuclear arsenal.
“We knew that the will to sign an agreement is stronger than anything and that’s why we never committed ourselves to stopping it,” he said in Hebrew. “We did commit ourselves to stop Iran from arming itself with nuclear weapons and that commitment still holds on.”
Netanyahu contends that Iran cannot be trusted with any sort of nuclear program, and says Tehran must be made to stop supporting militancy throughout the region.
Speaking to the Knesset on Monday, Netanyahu referred to huge marches held in Iran to celebrate Al-Quds day, a holiday in support of Palestinians, on July 10.
“As Iran continued to receive more and more concessions at the negotiating table, Iranian President [Hassan] Rouhani led a march of hatred in the streets of Tehran in which the masses cried, ‘Death to America! Death to Israel!’” he said.
Israel’s Minister of Science, Technology and Space Danny Danon also came out against the agreement.
“We are disappointed, and very concerned, with the deal reached in Vienna. This agreement is not just bad for Israel, it’s dangerous for the entire free world,” he said. “Giving the world’s largest supporter of terrorism a free pass in developing nuclear weapons is like providing a pyromaniac with matches.”
Danon added: “The money that is about to flow into Iran will undoubtedly be used to fund terrorism throughout the region, and the world.”
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely tweeted that the “agreement is a capitulation of historic proportions by the West to the Iran-led axis of evil.”
Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett described the deal as an “eternal shame.”
“A state that has announced these days its aim to eliminate the State of Israel, stands to receive legitimacy to be a nuclear power,” he said in the Knesset on Monday.
“Citizens of the Western world must understand: An agreement is going to be signed that will transfer half a trillion dollars to a new terrorist superpower, they are going to sign an agreement with the world’s most dangerous country, and they are doing so with a country that wants to openly destroy nations and peoples.”
The Associated Press quoted Israeli Cabinet minister Miri Regev as saying the nuclear deal gives the Islamic Republic a “license to kill.”
Regev, a former military spokeswoman who serves as Israel’s culture and sports minister, said Tuesday that the deal was “bad for the free world (and) bad for humanity.”
Saudi Arabia, another close American ally and an Iranian rival, has also opposed the deal but did not immediately issue a statement.