In his first public remarks since taking office, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that Israel will not allow Iran or any other country to develop a nuclear bomb, as the Trump administration is expected to do in the next several weeks.
In a statement on Monday, the Trump Administration announced it was lifting sanctions against Iran, allowing Iran to begin receiving some financial assistance and allowing it to resume some uranium enrichment activities.
But that announcement left open the question of how much more work the Trump-led U.S. government can do to limit Iran’s nuclear program.
In his remarks, Netanyahu said the government is still working to ensure that Iran does not develop a bomb.
He added that “we are not going to give up, we are not retreating from our commitments to Israel, to our partners and to the world.”
“We are determined to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear capability, and we will not give up our security guarantees to the people of Israel and to our friends in the region,” Netanyahu said.
“We will remain steadfast, steadfast, and steadfast in our determination to confront and stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear capacity.”
While the Trump administrations plans to resume U.N.-brokered nuclear talks with Iran come later this month, the announcement came on the heels of a diplomatic setback for the Obama administration.
Trump last week withdrew the U.K. from the deal to limit Tehran’s nuclear development.
And on Monday the White House announced that Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had ordered the government to “cease and desist” from any effort to acquire nuclear weapons.
In the months since Trump’s election victory, Israeli leaders have been bracing for a more aggressive U.T.S.-led approach to the Iranian nuclear program, especially as the U,S.
and European powers prepare to lift sanctions.
The U.U.S., in particular, has repeatedly criticized the Iran nuclear deal, which it views as a dangerous surrender to Tehran.
Netanyahu on Monday said that the U to continue the U-T negotiations is “a very dangerous thing.”
“Iran is a terrorist state, which is an act of war,” Netanyahu told a group of ministers at a meeting in Jerusalem.
“Israel has a right to defend itself and to defend our allies, and that’s the most important thing for Israel.”
The Netanyahu administration has signaled it will not seek to prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear weapons capability.
On Monday, it said the U has “zero tolerance” for Iran acquiring a weapon.
While the Obama Administration’s approach to Iran has been to keep sanctions in place, Israel has been pushing for a new approach.
Netanyahu in January called on the U.,U.K., France and Germany to agree to a joint effort to impose sanctions on Iran in return for Iran limiting its nuclear program and removing all its nuclear-related facilities.
While Netanyahu has been critical of the Obama approach, he has also been in favor of lifting some sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
In November, Netanyahu proposed a new “Iran sanctions bill” that would allow for a broader U.G. sanctions relief program, but was defeated in the U in a vote that was seen as an attempt to pressure the administration into making concessions.
Earlier this month in Washington, U.C. Berkeley professor and author Daniel Pipes argued that the Obama regime’s “weakness on Iran was the real reason that the American people were not convinced in 2016 about whether they could trust a man who had so many promises and who had such an extraordinary record of diplomacy and foreign policy.”
“Israel and the United States have two different choices in 2017,” Pipes wrote in an article for The Atlantic.
“They can either take the same path of confrontation, or they can make a commitment to a negotiated settlement that will not be the end of the world, but will have the unintended effect of giving Iran a chance to gain a nuclear breakout capability.”
Israel has always been at the forefront of the UTA [unilateral international treaty] against nuclear weapons, and it is very clear that a comprehensive, multilateral approach is the only way to stop Iran.