Netanyahu wants meeting with Trump over US-Iran nuclear deal

Netanyahu wants meeting with Trump over US-Iran nuclear deal
The Israeli Prime Minister wants to discuss the "bad" nuclear deal US has agreed with Iran, claiming it does not prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear arsenal.
3 min read
05 December, 2016
The Israeli PM wants to discuss the 'bad' deal with President-elect Trump [Getty]
Israel's criticism of the US-Iran nuclear pact has resurfaced with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ready to bring up the "bad" deal with President-elect Donald Trump.

Netanyahu has long been a critic of the accord which saw Iran curb its nuclear programme in exchange for world powers to lift economic sanctions, claiming it did not got far enough in preventing Iran from developing a nuclear arsenal.

Trump also rubbished the pact in his run for the White House calling it a "disaster".

"Israel is committed to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons," Netanyahu told the Saban Forum on Sunday, a conference on the Middle East in Washington, via satellite from Jerusalem.

"That has not changed and will not change. As far as President-elect Trump, I look forward to speaking to him about what to do about this bad deal," he added.

Israel, widely assumed to be the Middle East's only nuclear-armed state and Iran's arch-foe, has repeatedly slammed the agreement.

In the aftermath of the deal's implementation in January, Netanyahu said Iran "has not relinquished its ambition to obtain nuclear weapons, and continues to act to destabilise the Middle East and spread terror throughout the world".

But Netanyahu has held back from attacking the pact in recent months as the US agreed a huge ten-year, $38billion military aid package for Israel.

"I opposed the deal because it doesn't prevent Iran from getting nukes; it paves the way for Iran to get nuclear weapons," Netanyahu said in Sunday's question-and-answer session.

Under the deal, Iran committed to reducing the number of its centrifuges by two-thirds, capping its level of uranium enrichment well below the level needed for bomb-grade material, reducing its enriched uranium stock pile from around 10,000kg to 300kg for 15 years, and submitting to international inspections to verify its compliance.

"The problem isn't so much that Iran will break the deal, but that Iran will keep it because it just can walk in within a decade, and even less ... to industrial-scale enrichment of uranium to make the core of an arsenal of nuclear weapons," Netanyahu told the forum.

"So the problem how to deal with this deal is something that I will discuss with ... President Trump when he takes office."

The US this week voted to extend sanctions against Iran, due to expire at the end of the year, for another ten years, a move which Iran said "violated" the agreement but Congress insists serves as a deterrent to Tehran breaching the pact.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has demanded outgoing US President Barack Obama allow sanctions to expire before he leaves office in January.