After US president’s speech, in which he called Netanyahu ‘sincere’ but ‘wrong,’ Israeli official says agreement hastens war

President Barack Obama speaks about the nuclear deal with Iran, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015, at American University in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
President Barack Obama speaks about the nuclear deal with Iran, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015, at American University in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)


Israel “doesn’t doubt President Obama’s sincerity” on the Iran nuclear deal, but disagrees that the accord blocks Tehran from developing nuclear weapons, an Israeli diplomatic source said Wednesday, following a speech by the president to rally support for the agreement.

The official was speaking shortly after an hour-long speech by Barack Obama on Wednesday, in which the US president maintained Israel was the only country to object to the Iran nuclear deal. “I recognize that Prime Minister Netanyahu disagrees. I don’t doubt his sincerity. But I believe he is wrong,” Obama said.

“Israel doesn’t doubt President Obama’s sincerity, but disagrees with his position,” the Israeli official retorted Wednesday evening.

“This deal does not prevent war but rather hastens it because it gives Iran international legitimacy to build the infrastructure for an arsenal of nuclear bombs; it bolsters its terror machine and its aggression with hundreds of millions of dollars.”

In his address to the American University in Washington, Obama turned to Israelis and supporters of Israel directly and noted: “A nuclear-armed Iran is far more dangerous to Israel, to America, and to the world, than an Iran that benefits from sanctions relief.”

In response, the Israeli official said Obama was “correct” in this assessment, but warned that “this deal gives Iran both the ability to develop nuclear weapons and billions of dollars with which it will support terror.”

The official also countered claims by Obama that international sanctions on Iran were ineffective, and lamented that the nuclear deal did not force the dismantlement of Iran’s atomic infrastructure.

“Iran’s economic crisis today restricts its capacity for destruction, and removing the sanctions will propel it to proportions that will endanger Israel, the region, and the entire world,” he said.

“The deal leaves Iran with nuclear infrastructure that a peaceful program does not need, but which is essential for a military nuclear program,” the official said. “Those seeking a civilian nuclear program don’t need thousands of uranium-enriching centrifuges.”

The Israeli official also slammed Obama’s claim that the oversight by the international community would catch Iranian violations of the deal.

“The claim that Iran won’t be able to hide a military nuclear program does not correspond to reality,” the official said. “Iran already managed to fool the international community and build secret nuclear facilities in Natanz and Qom.”

After 15 years, Iran will only be bound by the Non-Proliferation Treaty and “Iran has violated this treaty time after time,” the official said.

In his address, the US president had maintained the only alternative to the nuclear deal was war. It’s “diplomacy or some form of war. Maybe not tomorrow. Maybe not three months from now, but soon,” Obama said.

Obama said the Iran deal was “the strongest non-proliferation agreement ever negotiated. And because it’s such a strong deal, every nation in the world that has commented publicly, with the exception of the Israeli government, has expressed support.”

The president said that under the deal, it would be difficult for Iran to cheat, arguing that it would have to build “a secret source for every aspect of its program,” something the president said no other nation had succeeded in doing with such stringent oversight.

With regard to its support for terror groups, the president said the US had “no illusions” about Iran’s financial backing for groups such as Hezbollah. “But they engaged in these activities for decades. Before sanctions, and while sanctions were in place. They even engaged in them during the Iran-Iraq War, which cost them a million lives. The truth is Iran has always found a way to fund these efforts.”

Moreover, Israel and the Gulf states have larger defense budgets, Obama said.

“Iran’s defense budget is eight times smaller than the combined Gulf allies. Its military will never compare to Israel’s, and our commitment to Israel’s qualitative military edge will guarantee that,” Obama said.

As reported by The Times of Israel