US Rejects PM's Call for Iran to Recognize Israel

State Dept. says deal with Iran 'only about the nuclear issue', refuses to address Israeli concerns over bolstered Iranian aggression.

Ari Soffer ,

John Kerry at Sharm el-Sheikh
John Kerry at Sharm el-Sheikh
Reuters

The US State Department has rejected Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's call to condition any final deal with Iran over its nuclear program on the Iranian regime recognizing the State of Israel.

During a Saturday press conference State Dept. spokeswoman Marie Harf abruptly rejected the suggestion, stating "this is an agreement that is only about the nuclear issue."

"This is an agreement that doesn't deal with any other issues, nor should it," Harf added.

Many critics of the deal under discussion with Iran - a "framework" of which was agreed late last week - both inside of the US and abroad, have objected to the fact that it separates Tehran's nuclear program from other pressing issues, including Iran's escalating aggression throughout the Middle East via terrorist proxies, its gross human rights abuses and other actions which would be bolstered by a relaxation in sanctions promised by the deal.

Netanyahu addressed the framework deal announced Thursday in a public statement Friday, in which he reiterated Israel's staunch opposition and called for the P5+1 western powers to condition any lifting of sanctions on Iran recognizing the Jewish state.

"This deal would pose a grave danger to the region and to the world and would threaten the very survival of the State of Israel," Netanyahu said. 

"The deal would lift sanctions almost immediately - and this at the very time that Iran is stepping up its aggression and terror in the region and beyond the region," the prime minister added. "In a few years, the deal would remove the restrictions on Iran's nuclear program, enabling Iran to have a massive enrichment capacity that it could use to produce many nuclear bombs within a matter of months."

"The deal would greatly bolster Iran's economy. It would give Iran thereby tremendous means to propel its aggression and terrorism throughout the Middle East.

"Such a deal does not block Iran's path to the bomb. Such a deal paves Iran's path to the bomb. And it might very well spark a nuclear arms race throughout the Middle East and it would greatly increase the risks of terrible war."

Netanyahu pointed to recent comments by a senior Iranian military commander, who declared that Iran was still committed to Israel's destruction and sees the Jewish state's annihilation as a "non-negotionable" issue.

"I want to make clear to all. The survival of Israel is non-negotiable," Netanyahu retorted. "Israel will not accept an agreement which allows a country that vows to annihilate us to develop nuclear weapons, period."

For that reason, the PM said, "Israel demands that any final agreement with Iran will include a clear and unambiguous Iranian recognition of Israel's right to exist."



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