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Iran Nuclear Deal No Cause for Celebration, Israel Says

  • Reuters

FILE - Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz, shown in an interview in March 2015, says Iran continues to be a threat to his country and to all other nations in the Middle East.

FILE - Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz, shown in an interview in March 2015, says Iran continues to be a threat to his country and to all other nations in the Middle East.

Israel dismissed celebration of a nuclear framework deal between major powers and Iran on Thursday, calling it detached from reality, and vowed to continue lobbying to prevent a "bad'' final agreement.

Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said in a statement after the announcements in Switzerland: "The smiles in Lausanne are detached from wretched reality in which Iran refuses to make any concessions on the nuclear issue and continues to threaten Israel and all other countries in the Middle East. We will continue with our efforts to explain and persuade the world in hopes of preventing a bad [final] agreement."

President Barack Obama said he would speak to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later Thursday. Netanyahu was expected to postpone any comment until after that conversation takes place.

Earlier, as details of the framework were being finalized, Netanyahu demanded in a post on Twitter that any deal achieved with Iran ''must significantly roll back Iran's nuclear capabilities."

Netanyahu attached a diagram to his tweet showing Tehran's involvement in Middle East conflicts in Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon and Egypt and reiterated Israel's demands that Iran ''stop its terrorism and aggression."

Netanyahu has long been critical of the agreement being negotiated with Tehran. In a controversial speech to the U.S. Congress last month that strained ties with Obama, he called it a ''bad deal," doubting the terms would prevent Iran from attaining a capability to acquire nuclear weapons.

Israeli media were largely skeptical of the framework deal. Udi Segal, diplomatic correspondent for Channel 2 news, seemed to sum up the mood by saying it amounted to the world giving Iran's years of nuclear violations a ''kosher" certificate.

Israel, which sees Iran's nuclear program as an existential threat, has previously threatened to attack Iran if it is unhappy with an eventual deal.

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