Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday called the deal Western nations are discussing with Iran and have not yet finalized over its nuclear program “bad and dangerous.”
At a meeting of the Israeli cabinet Sunday, Netanyahu said that he had spoken by telephone with the leaders of the so-called P5+1 countries (permanent members of the UN Security Council along with Germany) – including President Barack Obama.
Three days of intense talks in Geneva ended on Saturday without an agreement, reportedly due in large part to a more hardline position staked out by France, which called the proposal “a sucker’s deal.”
“I told them that according to the information reaching Israel, the apparent deal is bad and dangerous. It is dangerous not just for us, it is also dangerous for them," Netanyahu said of his talks with Western leaders.
"It is dangerous for world peace because it lowers the pressure of sanctions that took years to build while on the other hand, Iran, in practice, retains its nuclear enrichment capability as well as the ability to advance along the plutonium track," he added.
The Israeli leader emphasized that the proposed deal “does not include the dismantling of even one centrifuge."
"I asked all the leaders – why the haste?" Netanyahu said. "I proposed that they wait, that they consider the matter seriously."
He said he’s not “deluding” himself that “there is a strong desire to reach an agreement, I hope not an agreement at any price, and if there is to be an agreement then it needs to be a good agreement and not a bad agreement.”
Israeli government officials told Israel Radio on Sunday that Israel was not updated on all of information regarding the potential deal with Iran which led to a “difficult” telephone call on Friday between Netanyahu and Secretary of State John Kerry, according to the Times of Israel.
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett had an even harsher assessment, telling Army Radio Sunday that if in 10 years “a nuclear suitcase explodes in New York,” it will be “because of concessions that happened in recent days.”
“[C]lear divisions emerged among the US and European allies on the final day of the Geneva talks as France hinted that the proposal under discussion did not sufficiently neutralize the threat of an Iranian nuclear bomb,” the Jerusalem Post reported.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said his country was not satisfied with the Iranian position and that France could not accept a “sucker’s deal” – which some news organizations translated as a "fool's deal." The Telegraph noted that France has adopted a more “hardline” position against the Iranians than the other negotiating countries, including the U.S.
A headline in the Weekly Standard on Saturday also noted the gap, “French Socialist Administration Tougher on Iran than Obama Administration.”
“It appears other Western countries are trying to dismiss the French concerns by saying they were late to the game,” wrote Daniel Halper of the Weekly Standard.
Matt Lee of the Associated Press tweeted on Saturday, “France unpopular at #Iran talks. Western dip says ‘nothing more than an attempt by Fabius to insert himself into relevance late in negs.’”
"The security concerns of Israel and all the countries of the region have to be taken into account," France's Fabius told France Inter radio. He said Iran must reduce the purity of its highly enriched uranium and suspend work at its Arak reactor which could potentially produce bomb-grade plutonium, Voice of America reported.
Haaretz reported that a high-ranking American delegation was traveling to Jerusalem on Sunday to update Netanyahu on the talks.
Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman who led the American negotiators at the UN-hosted talks in Geneva was heading the group traveling to Israel, Haaretz reported.