Israel minister defies Netanyahu saying Iran honoured nuclear deal

Israel minister defies Netanyahu saying Iran honoured nuclear deal
2 min read
07 August, 2016
Despite the resistance of the government, Israel's energy minister believes that Iran has respected the nuclear deal with the US and world powers.
Israel believes that Iran's nuclear programme was cover for building the A-bomb [Getty]
Israel's energy minister has said he believes Iran has so far respected a nuclear deal struck with world powers last year.

However, Youval Steinitz was still quick to criticise the landmark nuclear accord which included Iran's for the US, and the deal continues to anger Israeli politicians - particularly from the right - including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

The agreement, which was signed in July 2015 and came into force in January, saw Tehran accept curbs to its nuclear programme in exchange for a lifting of economic sanctions by world powers.

"It's a bad deal but it's an accomplished fact and during the first year we spotted no significant breach from the Iranians," said Steinitz, who is close to Netanyahu.

"But it's still too early to conclude that this 12-year deal is a success," he told public radio.

Steinitz's comments came after US President Barack Obama on Thursday defended the accord.

Israel's defence ministry, led by hardliner Avigdor Lieberman, on Friday compared the deal with Iran to the 1938 Munich Agreement, which allowed Nazi Germany to annex parts of then Czechoslovakia.

On the same day Netanyahu repeated his country's rejection of the Iran deal but stressed that Israel and the United States remained great allies.

For several months the US and Israeli governments have been negotiating the terms of a new ten-year defence aid pact to replace the current one, which expires in 2018 and is worth more than $3 billion (2.7 billion euros) per year.

The Netanyahu government wants the United States to increase the annual amount of military assistance it provides.