Yaalon: Proposed Deal With Iran a 'Historical Mistake'

"An agreement now, in the current conditions, is a historical mistake," warns Israeli Defense Minister.

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Elad Benari,

Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon
Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon
Flash 90

Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said on Saturday that a landmark deal on Iran's nuclear program under discussion with world powers is a "historical mistake."

"An agreement now, in the current conditions, is a historical mistake that will allow the bellicose regime in Tehran to pursue its dangerous nuclear program and its ambition to spread terror and to undermine regimes in the Middle East and the entire world," Yaalon said, according to AFP.

He urged world powers holding talks with Iran in Geneva to be "intransigent" with the  Islamic Republic. His comments were echoed by Justice Minister Tzipi Livni.

"There is no need to hurry to sign an agreement that will not reach its objectives, when a much more favorable agreement could be signed given the pressure Iran is under," Livni said in a statement.

The proposed agreement - seen as a first step ahead of further talks on a final deal - would see Iran freeze parts of its nuclear program for as long as six months in exchange for some relief from the sanctions battering its economy.

Diplomats from the P5+1 group, which is made up of Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany, grappled to secure the deal at talks Saturday in Geneva.

After several meetings with fellow diplomats, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said there were still "disagreements" on some questions and pointed to divisions among world powers.

"There are differences of opinion within the P5+1 group," he was quoted as saying by Iranian news agency ISNA, adding that negotiations would not continue into Sunday if a deal was not reached.

"If we do not reach an agreement tonight, the talks will be resumed in the next seven or 10 days," he said.

According to reports Saturday, France was standing in the way of an agreement, after its Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius raised concerns over the proposals made to Iran, similar to the ones Israel has expressed.

Iran's spokesman of the parliamentary foreign affairs committee, Hossein Naqavi Hosseini, strongly attacked Fabius, saying "the behavior of the French representative in the nuclear talks shows that France is trying to blackmail" Iran.

On Friday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned Kerry that he was offering Iran "the deal of the century".

"This is a very bad deal. Israel utterly rejects it," Netanyahu said, vowing that Israel would not be bound by any agreement.

The U.S. responded to Netanyahu's concern by saying the criticism was premature, as no deal has yet been reached.