Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered suggestions Sunday for ways to improve the current version of the framework agreement over Iran’s nuclear program, a move apparently designed to answer a challenge set forth one day earlier by President Barack Obama to come up with “a good answer” for an “alternative.”
In an on-camera statement delivered in English Sunday, Netanyahu said a better deal would shut down once-illicit nuclear facilities and link the lifting of sanctions to Iran halting its support of terrorism.
“So let me reiterate again the two main components of the alternative to this bad deal,” Netanyahu said, using the same language – “alternative” – as Obama did Saturday.
“First, instead of allowing Iran to preserve and develop its nuclear capabilities, a better deal would significantly roll back these capabilities, for example, by shutting down the illicit underground facilities that Iran concealed for years from the international community,” Netanyahu said from his office in Jerusalem. “Second, instead of lifting the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear facilities and program at a fixed date, a better deal would link the lifting of these restrictions to an end of Iran’s aggression in the region, its worldwide terrorism and its threats to annihilate Israel.”
At a press conference Saturday at the Americas Summit in Panama, Obama criticized Netanyahu for repeatedly voicing his opposition to the current deal without offering an alternative.
“The prime minister of Israel is deeply opposed to it, I think he’s made that very clear,” Obama said.
“I have repeatedly asked, what is the alternative that you present that you think makes it less likely for Iran to get a nuclear weapon? And I have yet to obtain a good answer on that,” the president said.
Netanyahu said in his statement Sunday that the framework agreement contained “dangerous concessions” and that the international community “must not allow Iran – the foremost sponsor of global terrorism – to have an easy path to nuclear weapons which will threaten the entire world.”