Daily Israel Report

PM: Deal Would Have Been Much Worse Without Us

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu says lobbying had an impact; Israeli team will have an opportunity to weigh in on the deal with Iran.
By David Lev
First Publish: 11/25/2013, 4:17 PM

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
Flash 90

After a discussion with U.S. President Barack Obama Sunday night, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at a meeting of Likud ministers Monday that he still thought the deal with Iran to limit its enrichment of uranium was a bad deal – but that an Israeli team would have an opportunity to officially weigh in on the deal.

The meeting was held together with ministers from Yisrael Beiteinu, which decided Sunday to continue its working agreement with the Likud.

The PM also echoed comments made by former Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin, suggesting that despite being less than ideal, the agreement was better than it would have been due to Israeli pressure.

“I would be very happy if I could join my voice to those around the world who are praising this deal,” Netanyahu said. “Thanks to our efforts, it is a better agreement than it would have been had we not protested. But it is still a bad deal,” the Prime Minister said.

After his conversation with Obama, Netanyahu said, the two agreed that “in the coming days an Israeli team, headed by officials from the National Security Council, will head to Washington to discuss the agreement with American officials.” 

In order for the agreement to be effective, Netanyahu stressed, “it must remove from Iran all possibilities of achieving weapons of mass destruction.”

Many aspects of the agreement have not been finalized, but among its highlights is an agreement by Iran to freeze for a six month period some of its nuclear activities in exchange for partial and limited relief of the sanctions that have been imposed on it. The lifting of those sanctions is expected to pump between $4 and $5 billion into the Iranian economy.

In addition, Iran will be allowed to continue to enrich uranium to a level 3.5%, but will not be allowed to add to its stockpile of enriched uranium, and would have to move some of its enriched material to a third country.

The full text of the agreement can be seen here.

The meeting was held together with ministers from Yisrael Beiteinu, which decided Sunday to continue its working agreement with the Likud.