Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the nuclear deal with Iran has “brought war closer” to happening in the Middle East.
Speaking Friday in New York with VOA contributor Greta Van Susteren, Netanyahu said Iran received billions of dollars from the lifting of sanctions as part of the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, but did not use that money to better the lives of the Iranian people.
“They took $15 billion and put it in an aggressive empire in which they are trying to conquer the Middle East, kill anyone who disagrees with them and seek their campaign to destroy Israel,” Netanyahu said.
Report to IAEA
Netanyahu’s comments came a day after he addressed the U.N. General Assembly, accusing Iran of maintaining a secret nuclear weapons storage facility in Tehran. Iranian state television called the charge “ridiculous.”
The Israeli prime minister told VOA that Israel notified the International Atomic Energy Agency about the facility six weeks ago but said, so far, there had been no response.
“I hope they’ll act now,” he said. “I’m sure the Iranian regime will do everything in its power to lead them astray, not to take them right into the place,” Netanyahu added.
Future of Iran deal
Also at the United Nations this week, the diplomatic tussle intensified between the United States and other signatories over the future of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, as the U.S. prepares to hit Tehran with fresh sanctions.
The United States pulled out of the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action, in May. The five remaining signatories — Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia — want to create an alternative payment system to bypass U.S. sanctions.
The United States has reacted with anger to that plan, and on Wednesday Trump accused Iran of spreading chaos, death and destruction.
Netanyahu told VOA that the “Europeans still cling to a version of what they’d like Iran to be rather than what Iran is.”
“They have to wake up and recognize this. This is the most aggressive, terrorist power on earth. The last thing they should have is a relief on sanctions and the ability to advance their empire of aggression and their nuclear weapons program,” he said.
At the U.N. Wednesday, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani praised efforts to keep the nuclear deal alive.
“Until such time when we keep reaping the benefits promised within that agreement for our nation and our people, we will remain in the agreement. Should the situation change, we have other paths and other solutions,” Rouhani told reporters in New York.