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Netanyahu: 'The Survival of Israel Is Non-Negotiable

Netanyahu: 'The Survival of Israel Is Non-Negotiable

"...Israel's right to exist..."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday blasted the Iran nuclear agreement announced Thursday as a deal that legitimizes Iran's nuclear program, and made a new demand that any final agreement must force Iran to recognize Israel's right to exist.

"Just two days ago, in the midst of the negotiations in Lausanne, the commander of the Basij security forces in Iran said this: 'The destruction of Israel is non-negotiable,' " Netanyahu said in a message posted to Facebook.

"Well, I want to make clear to all. The survival of Israel is non-negotiable," he added. "Israel will not accept an agreement which allows a country that vows to annihilate us to develop nuclear weapons, period."

"In addition, Israel demands that any final agreement with Iran will include a clear and unambiguous Iranian recognition of Israel's right to exist," Netanyahu concluded.

Israel's opposition to the deal announced Thursday is likely to complicate the Obama administration's effort to pitch the deal to Congress, since many Republicans support Netanyahu's stance on the talks.

Netanyahu's demand for Iran to recognize Israel is also a new twist, and is a condition that the administration has indicated would not be part of its negotiation with Iran. The administration has said repeatedly that the talks are focused only on the narrow issue of Iran's nuclear program, and not other issues like Iran's status as a terrorist-sponsoring nation or its position toward Israel.

"There is no grand bargain being discussed here in the context of this negotiation," Secretary of State John Kerry said last month. "This is about a nuclear weapon potential, that's it."

Netanyahu's Facebook statement said that he just spoke to his cabinet, which also opposes the agreement.

"I just came from a meeting of the Israeli cabinet. We discussed the proposed framework for a deal with Iran," he said. "The cabinet is united in strongly opposing the proposed deal."

"This deal would pose a grave danger to the region and to the world and would threaten the very survival of the State of Israel," he said.

Like many Republicans have already pointed out, Netanyahu noted that the deal as described by the United States wouldn't permanently shut down any nuclear facilities in Iran, and wouldn't stop research and development on advanced centrifuges.

"On the contrary," he said. "The deal would legitimize Iran's illegal nuclear program. It would leave Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure. A vast nuclear infrastructure remains in place."

He also said that leaving in place this infrastructure while lifting sanctions against Iran would give it more economic power at a time when it's "stepping up its aggression and terror in the region and beyond the region."

"The deal would greatly bolster Iran's economy," he said. "It would give Iran thereby tremendous means to propel its aggression and terrorism throughout the Middle East."

Netanyahu also repeated his remark from his speech to Congress last month, when he said the deal wouldn't block Iran's path to a nuclear bomb, and instead "paves Iran's path to the bomb."

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