Netanyahu praises Trump for Iran deal pullout

Netanyahu praises Trump for Iran deal pullout
Trump cited Netanyahu's much-ridiculed slideshow in which the Israeli leader claimed to have a trove of "intelligence" on Iran's nuclear weaponisation.
2 min read
Netanyahu during a meeting with Trump (not pictured) in the Oval Office [Getty]

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu praised US President Donald Trump's "historic move" to withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Netanyahu has been a leading critic of the accord, saying it did not contain sufficient safeguards to prevent Iran from reaching nuclear-weapons grade capability. It is also critical of the country's regional role and long-range missile programme. 

"The deal didn't reduce Iran's aggression, it dramatically increased it, and we see this across the entire Middle East," Netanyahu said. "Despite the deal, the terrorist regime in Tehran is developing a ballistic missiles capability, ballistic missiles to carry nuclear warheads far and wide, to many parts of the world."

However, the accord brought to a minimum of one year, for at least ten years, the "breakout time" that Iran needs to produce enough fissile material to make an atom bomb.

UN inspectors have certified Iran's compliance with the deal nine times, most recently in November.

Regional observers have also criticised Israel for its decades-long practice of not disclosing its nuclear weapons programme and for skirting membership to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). 

On Tuesday, Trump signed a presidential memorandum withdrawing from the 2015 agreement and reinstating sanctions on Iran. Trump also warned any country against assisting Iran.

During his speech, the president cited a much-derided presentation by Netanyahu last week, in which he claimed to have a trove of intelligence on a pre-2003 Iranian plan to develop a nuclear weapon - information that observers say the IAEA likely already know.

European allies, including Britain, France and Germany, have criticised the US decision to withdraw from the accord. They released a joint statement Tuesday saying they "remain committed to ensuring the agreement is upheld".

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani appeared on state TV moments after Trump's announcement, calling the US decision to withdraw "illegal".

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