Jerusalem: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that Iran's atomic drive “will be stopped”, a day after an interim agreement bringing sanctions relief for Tehran took effect.
“Iran's military nuclear programme must be stopped, and Iran's military nuclear programme will be stopped,” Netanyahu said at a joint news conference with his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper, without saying how.
Israel has long warned that a nuclear Iran would pose an existential threat to the Jewish state, and has refused to rule out a military strike to prevent that from happening.
“The interim agreement which went into force today does not prevent Iran from realising its intention to develop nuclear weapons,” he told the Israeli parliament.
The international community also kept its part of the deal, with both the European Union and United States separately announcing they were easing crippling sanctions on Iran.
The deal, which was signed in Geneva, came about after nearly a decade of failed negotiations over its disputed nuclear programme, which the West believes is a front for building a military capability.
Netanyahu said the Iran nuclear issue, and the rise of Islamism across the Middle East, had united Israel and many Arab countries in their efforts to face these “twin challenges”.
“Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons and the aggressive designs of the Muslim Brotherhood is what shape many of the Arab world's leading countries today,” he said.
“In meeting those twin challenges, these countries do not see Israel as their enemy but as being on the same side of a difficult conflict,” he said.
Commentators say the diplomatic effect of direct talks between Israel's sworn enemy Iran and Western powers could see the Jewish state finding more in common with traditional Arab allies of the US, particularly Sunni Gulf kingdom Saudi Arabia.