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Netanyahu offers alternatives to Iran deal following Obama criticsm

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel offered alternatives on the nuclear framework agreement with Iran. Netanyahu released a statement on Sunday, April 12 with the changes to the deal signed earlier this month, a day after President Barack Obama told reporters that Netanyahu had not provided any alternatives. The Israeli leader called on the international community to negotiate a better agreement.

In his statement, Netanyahu criticized Iran for insisting in the wake of the agreement on maintaining its nuclear capabilities and refusing to allow nuclear inspections, as well as its continuing aggression in the region. “Let me reiterate again the two main components of the alternative to this bad deal: First, instead of allowing Iran to preserve and develop its nuclear capabilities, a better deal would significantly roll back these capabilities – for example, by shutting down the illicit underground facilities that Iran concealed for years from the international community,” he said. “Second, instead of lifting the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear facilities and program at a fixed date, a better deal would link the lifting of these restrictions to an end of Iran’s aggression in the region, its worldwide terrorism and its threats to annihilate Israel.”

On Saturday, Obama spoke at a news conference at the Americas Summit in Panama City, Panama, on Netanyahu’s failure to come up with alternatives. “I have repeatedly asked, what is the alternative that you present that you think makes it less likely for Iran to get a nuclear weapon? And I have yet to obtain a good answer on that,” Obama said.

The Netanyahu statement came the same day that Haaretz reported, citing two unnamed Israeli officials, that Netanyahu said at an April 3 meeting of the security Cabinet that if a final agreement is signed between Iran and the world powers, the greatest concern is that Tehran will fully implement it without violations. Netanyahu reportedly said at the meeting that he was concerned that Iran will not break the agreement, waiting until it expires in 10-15 years and the country is not considered a threat to restart its nuclear program without the threat of international monitors or sanctions. The security Cabinet decided at the meeting to try to persuade the Obama administration to improve the agreement. Most ministers, however, reportedly believe the best way to halt or alter the agreement is through Congress, which is where the most effort will be spent.

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