Having failed to prevent an international nuclear deal with Iran, Israel plans to ramp up its lobbying of the U.S. Congress, and look for any sign that Iran is violating the agreement, in the hope of getting sanctions reimposed, officials said.
Responding within minutes to news that six world powers had agreed to lift sanctions on Iran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear programme, Israel's prime minister and other senior officials condemned the pact.
"This is a bad mistake of historic proportions," said Benjamin Netanyahu, who has described Iran as akin to the militants of Islamic State.
"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."
Iran does not recognise Israel and has in the past said it should be wiped off the map, leading the small Jewish state, widely assumed to possess the Middle East's only nuclear arsenal, to portray Iran as a threat to its existence.
Having spent months trying to stall the deal and expose its perceived frailties, Israeli officials said they would now focus on persuading the U.S. Congress to reject it, while monitoring Iran meticulously to catch violations.
Times of Israel
Echoing comments he made a day earlier, Netanyahu said the agreement was inevitable when the US was willing to cave to Iranian demands even as Tehran officials led public calls of “Death to America.”
“I would like to say here and now – when you are willing to make an agreement at any cost, this is the result.”
Netanyahu, who has lobbied incessantly against the emerging agreement, said he never opposed the deal, but rather Iran’s ability to obtain a nuclear weapon.
“We knew very well that the desire to sign an agreement was stronger than anything"