Israel PM says Iran deal 'historic mistake'
JERUSALEM - Reuters
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. AP PhotoIsrael's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday slammed a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers as a "historic mistake", his spokesman said.
"PM Netanyahu: What was achieved yesterday in Geneva is not a historic agreement but rather a historic mistake," Ofir Gendelman posted on his official Twitter account, quoting Netanyahu's comments to a weekly cabinet meeting.
Netanyahu's government denounced world powers' nuclear agreement with Iran on Sunday as a "bad deal" to which Israel would not be bound.
Yet Israeli officials stopped short of explicitly threatening military action that could further isolate the Jewish state and imperil its alliance with Washington, saying more time was needed to assess the accord.
"This is a bad deal. It grants Iran exactly what it wanted - both a significant easing in sanctions and preservation of the most significant parts of its nuclear programme," an official in Netanyahu's office said.
"The economic pressure on Iran could have brought about a much better deal which would have dismantled Iran's nuclear capabilities."
Obama: Iran deal 'an important first step'
President Barack Obama hailed an historic interim deal with Iran Saturday as "an important first step" towards a comprehensive pact to end the showdown over Teheran's nuclear program.
The president however quickly ran into criticism from opponents on Capitol Hill, reflecting the deep mistrust of Tehran after more than 30 years of Cold War-style hostilities and Obama's own ragged domestic political fortunes.
"While today's announcement is just a first step, it achieves a great deal," Obama said in a late night statement from the White House after the agreement was clinched in talks between P5+1 world powers and Iran in Geneva.
"For the first time in nearly a decade, we have halted the progress of the Iranian nuclear program, and key parts of the program will be rolled back." The president also warned that if Iran did not live up to its side of the bargain, it would both lose the nearly $7 billion in sanctions relief allowed under the interim deal and face increased sanctions.
EU hails 'courage' of Iran deal, urges 'punctual' implementation
European Union President Herman Van Rompuy on Sunday hailed the "courage" shown by Iran and world powers in their deal to curb Tehran's nuclear programme, but said the key lay in its "punctual" implementation.
"It is now crucial to ensure punctual implemtation of the agreement reached and to continue working, on the basis of the trust that is being built, towards a definitive settlement of this issue," Van Rompuy said of the agreement which offers in exchange limited sanctions relief.
Russia says only winners, no losers in Iran nuclear deal
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Sunday praised the deal world powers reached with Iran on Tehran's nuclear programme and stressed it would benefit all sides.
"Nobody lost, everyone ends up winning," Russian news agencies quoted him as saying after marathon talks in Geneva yielded a landmark accord in which Iran agrees to curbs on its nuclear programme in return for limited sanctions relief.
Lavrov said the agreement allowed for wider inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), fostered much-needed trust in the Middle East and assuaged fears of nuclear proliferation.
"Now it will be very difficult to go around the facts determined by the IAEA. We are convinced that Iran will cooperate with the agency in good faith," he told Russian journalists.
China: Iran deal will 'safeguard peace' in the Middle East
China has welcomed a breakthrough deal with Iran to curb its nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief, saying the agreement with Tehran would "help safeguard peace and stability in the Middle East".
"This agreement will help to uphold the international nuclear non-proliferation system, (and) safeguard peace and stability in the Middle East," foreign minister Wang Yi said, according to a statement on the foreign ministry website.
It will also "help parties to begin to carry out normal exchanges with Iran, and will help provide a better life for the Iranian people," Wang added.