Kerry, PM Hold Final Meeting; PM: 'Israel utterly rejects' Deal
Prime Minister Biynamin Netanyahu and US Secretary of State John Kerry held a final meeting today (Friday), with the PM urging Kerry to reconsider meeting tonight with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. In the meeting, Netanyahu reiterated that Israel "utterly rejects" Iran's supposed offer to reduce its military capabilities in exchange for a reduction in economic sanctions, which is due to be discussed in upcoming talks in Geneva.
US Secretary of State John Kerry claims that Iran was getting "the deal of the century," echoing earlier remarks by US President Barack Obama preferring diplomacy over military action.
As AFP reports, the PM also thinks that Iran has "the deal of the century" - for very different reasons. "I understand that the Iranians are walking around very satisfied in Geneva, as well they should be because they got everything and paid nothing," he said, speaking as if a deal had already been done. "They wanted relief of sanctions after years of a grueling sanctions regime, they got that, they are paying nothing because they are not reducing in any way their nuclear enrichment capability," he said.
"So Iran got the deal of the century and the international community got a bad deal, this is a very bad deal. Israel utterly rejects it," he said, "Israel is not obliged by this agreement and Israel will do everything it needs to do to defend itself and the security of its people."
Last week, Zarif told CNN that Hassan Rouhani's assumption of the presidency in August has opened a window of opportunity that needs to be seized. Zarif’s deputy, Abbas Araqchi, provided contradicting statements - declaring that even if a deal is reached, his country would not stop its uranium enrichment. "Enrichment is our red line and its suspension is unacceptable," he said, according to the Fars news agency.
The proposed agreement, which was drafted by the US, offers Iran a six-month freeze of its nuclear program - including plutonium production at a water plant based in Iraq - in exchange for renewed negotiations between the two countries and the limited lifting of sanctions. The news is especially troubling given that Iran is close to producing enough weapons-grade uranium to produce a weapon within a relatively short period - some predictions are as little as a few weeks.
The meeting ended what has been a tumultuous week of sessions with Kerry, Israeli officials, and Palestinian Arab officials. In the course of this month's negotiations, Kerry has rejected Israel's rights to build Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria, promised over $75M in aid to the Palestinian Arabs, made threats supporting a third intifada, and defiantly ignored Israel's warnings about Iran.
A video of Binyamin Netanyahu's statements before meeting with Kerry is here: