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Iran Deal Opponents: Israeli Leaders

Israeli objections to the Iran deal cross the political spectrum. Here are some from leaders of the opposition parties.

Isaac Herzog, leader of the opposition and chairman of the Zionist Camp (Labor Party): “[Herzog] told the prime minister he shared the view that the agreement was a bad deal and added that he would do everything for the security of the State of Israel under the new circumstances, according to the Prime Minister’s Office. [….] Herzog said the main dangers of the deal come from the lifting of sanctions that ‘immediately give Iran a lot of money and resources, which will reach our enemies at our borders.’ ‘Now Iran is out of the cage and will become a regional tiger,’ he said, calling the agreement ‘a complex challenge that mandates cooperation on understanding the threat and on finding solutions.” (Opposition head will work with PM against Iran deal, won’t join gov’t, The Times of Israel, July 15, 2015)

Isaac Herzog: The deal “will unleash a lion from the cage” […] Iran is an “empire of evil and hate that spreads terror across the region” [….] Under the terms of the deal, Iran “will become a nuclear-threshold state in a decade or so.” Iran will take its post-sanctions windfall, he said, and use the funds to supply more rockets to Hezbollah in Lebanon, more ammunition to Hamas in Gaza, and “generally increase the worst type of activities that they’ve been doing.” [….] “There are clear risks to Israel’s security in this deal.” (Israeli Opposition Leader: Iran Deal Will Bring Chaos to the Middle East by Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic, July 16, 2015)

Tzipi Livni, leader of Hatnu’a, co-chair of the Zionist Camp, and former foreign minister, justice minister, and chief negotiator with the Palestinians: “Iran is getting legitimacy despite being a state involved in terrorism in the region,” she said. “The agreement is terrible not only because of what it includes but also what it does not.” (U.S. and Iran Reach Historic Nuclear Deal by Dan De Luce and Colum Lynch, Foreign Policy, July 13, 2015)

Yair Lapid, Yesh Atid chairman and former finance minister: “We thought it was a bad deal, but it is in fact a terrible deal. This agreement allows Iran to continue developing nuclear weapons, only this time with the help of the international community.” (Live Blog: Israel ‘not bound by Iran deal’, Netanyahu says, i24 News, July 14, 2015, 10:11 GMT)

Avigdor Lieberman, chairman of Israel Beyteinu and former foreign minister: ‘[The agreement is a] complete capitulation to terrorism.” (Live Blog: Israel ‘not bound by Iran deal’, Netanyahu says, i24 News, July 14, 2015, 07:55 GMT)

Ehud Barak, former Labor Party prime minister and minister of defense: “The agreement gives legitimacy to Iran to become a nuclear threshold state. It allows [the Iranians] to subsidize terror and removes them from the noose of sanctions. It is fair to say that it will allow Iran to follow North Korea to become a nuclear power.” (Ehud Barak: Israel can live with a nuclear Iran by Ariel Ben Solomon and Gil Hoffman, The Jerusalem Post, July 21, 2015)

Ephraim Sneh, Labor Party member and former minister: “The nuclear deal with Iran is bad for Israel and bad for the region. It makes me sick to say that [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu is right, but it’s true. There are plenty of holes in the agreement, and it has a negative effect on our position in the region. [….] [T]he inspections aren’t real inspections [….] [T]he nuclear project was not dismantled. It was put on hold. It was frozen, and anything frozen can be unfrozen. [….] [T]he clause regarding the restoration of punitive measures will become impractical in the new reality that will emerge the moment sanctions are lifted.” (I’m no fan of Bibi but I see a bad deal, says former Labor minister by Mazal Mualem, Al-Monitor, July 20, 2015)

Ari Shavit, author of My Promised Land and outspoken critic of the Netanyahu government: “[T]he international community is not only enabling, but actually ensuring the establishment of a new Iranian nuclear program, which will be immeasurably more powerful and dangerous than its predecessor. In fact the Iranians are giving up an outdated, anachronistic deployment in order to build an innovative legitimate one, with the world’s permission and authority. ‘The joint comprehensive plan of action’ will lead to Iran becoming in 2025 a muscular nuclear tiger ready to spring forward, with an ability to produce dozens of nuclear bombs. After many hours of reading I had to stop. The thriller had become a horror story.” (The Iran deal: From thriller to horror story by Ari Shavit, Haaretz, July 22, 2015)

Danny Yatom, former head of Mossad and Labor Member of Knesset: “In comments to McClatchy, he said his top concerns with the accord were that Iran would maintain centrifuges to enrich uranium, would be able to continue research, and that the regime of appeals set up for when foreign inspectors seek to search military sites for evidence of nuclear weapons development essentially gives Iran 24 days’ notice – ample time, he said, to hide the evidence. [….] ‘One year is almost nothing,’ he said.” (Israelis unified in bemoaning Iran deal, even Netanyahu’s opponents by Daniella Cheslow, McClatchy, July 17, 2015)

Amos Yadlin, former head of Israeli military intelligence, supporter of unilateral Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank: The deal has no “real assurances that Iran’s program is properly defanged.” (Nuclear-hungry Iran is pulling the wool over our eyes, Times (U.K.), July 14, 2015)

Shabtai Shavit, former head of the Mossad and anti-Netanyahu activist: “This deal is not good for Israel. There is no doubt Iran is going toward military nuclear capabilities.” (Israelis unified in bemoaning Iran deal, even Netanyahu’s opponents by Daniella Cheslow, McClatchy, July 17, 2015)

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