Israel prepares lobbying strategy against Iran deal
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to lobby heavily against the nuclear framework deal struck between Iran and world powers, as its language is finalized ahead of a June 30 agreement.
Jerusalem — An official Israeli analysis has drawn up a list of alleged shortcomings of the nuclear framework agreement between Iran and world powers, providing a basis for what is expected to be months of furious lobbying by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to reshape or cancel the deal.
Netanyahu, an outspoken critic of the negotiations with Iran, has already criticized the deal as insufficient. He is expected to lobby heavily against the framework deal as its language is finalized ahead of a June 30 agreement.
The framework agreement was announced on Thursday in Lausanne, Switzerland, by U.S.-led world powers and Iran. It seems to cut significantly into Iran's bomb-making technology while giving Tehran quick access to assets and markets blocked by international sanctions. The commitments, if implemented, would substantially pare down Iranian nuclear assets for a decade and restrict others for an additional five years.
According to a U.S. document listing those commitments, Tehran is ready to reduce its number of centrifuges, the machines that can spin uranium gas to levels used in nuclear warheads, and submit to aggressive monitoring and inspections of its nuclear facilities.
But the Israeli analysis, drawn up by officials in Netanyahu's office over the weekend, claims the system of inspections is not as thorough as proclaimed by negotiators because it does not explicitly force the Iranians to open their sites "anywhere, anytime."
It also claims the agreement is vague about what happens to Iran's stockpile of enriched uranium, a key ingredient in producing nuclear bombs, or how sanctions might be re-imposed if Iran violates the deal.
While Iran is not supposed to enrich uranium with its advanced centrifuges for 10 years, the deal permits limited "research and development" of the advanced centrifuges, according to the U.S. document. Israeli officials say this means that Iran could immediately put these centrifuges into action after the deal expires or breaks down.
Netanyahu has said the deal leaves too much of Iran's nuclear infrastructure in place. He says the deal should "significantly roll back" Iran's nuclear program.
As Netanyahu lobbies against the deal, he is expected to urge the world to take action against Iran's non-nuclear activities as well, according to the document.
It says the deal should address Iran's ballistic missiles, which are capable of delivering nuclear warheads, and Iran's support for militant groups across the region.
The Associated Press obtained a copy of the document Sunday from an official who demanded anonymity because of its confidential nature.