Netanyahu: Iran deal insubstantial ‘political theater’
Unnamed Israeli officials pan Obama’s lack of ‘political stomach’ for addressing nuclear program; PM urges Western powers not to compromise on demands


Nuclear negotiations that led to an interim deal with Iran last week were more political theater than substance, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in Rome on Monday, urging Western powers not to ease economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

At a press conference in the Italian capital, the prime minister again expressed strong opposition to the accord, urging European powers to demand a substantial rollback from Iran before agreeing to ease an effective sanctions regime. He warned that although Tehran, led by President Hassan Rouhani, presented a smiling face to the West, it continued to “butcher people in Syria, to promote terrorism” and to support Hezbollah and Hamas.

“Even though Iran has not even begun to implement the agreement, there appears to be a general relaxation of sanctions and a rush to accommodate Iran and to make it legitimate, as if Iran has changed anything of its actual policies except to smile, to speak English — on occasion — and to make Powerpoint presentations,” Netanyahu remarked. “What a revolution!”

Meanwhile, Jerusalem officials on Monday lashed out against President Barack Obama for wanting, they said, to reach an agreement with Iran in order finish his second term in office without getting bogged down in another conflict.

After anonymous US officials were quoted in the Israeli press saying that Netanyahu’s outspoken criticism of the interim deal with Iran was “weak and desperate,” unnamed officials in Jerusalem sniped back, saying Obama only cared about surviving the remaining three years in office.

“President Obama just wants to peacefully pass his remaining time until the end of his term. He doesn’t have the political stomach to grapple with Iran,” Channel 10 quoted “the Israeli leadership” as saying.

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