Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stepped up his rhetoric against the Iran nuclear deal after talks to revive the agreement were held in Vienna on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Netanyahu said the JCPOA would not “obligate” Israel, claiming the deal threatens the Jewish State with “annihilation.”
“The nuclear deal with Iran is once again on the table. Such deals with extreme regimes are worthless,” Netanyahu said at a speech during Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony. “A deal with Iran that threatens us with annihilation will not obligate us.”
Netanyahu made a veiled threat about taking action against Iran, as he did on Tuesday when the Vienna talks kicked off. “I say to our closest friends too: ‘A deal with Iran that threatens us with annihilation will not obligate us.’ Only one thing will obligate us: to prevent those who wish to destroy us from carrying out their plans,” he said.
An Iranian ship was attacked in the Red Sea on Tuesday, which an anonymous US official blamed on Israel in comments to The New York Times. Israel has a history of targeting Iranian ships in the region, and such covert action could increase while the US is entertaining the idea of lifting sanctions to return to the JCPOA.
As far as the claims of “annihilation” from Netanyahu, like most Israeli officials, he claims the JCPOA is a path to a nuclear-armed Iran, even though the agreement puts stringent limits on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program. Once the JCPOA expires, Iran will still be bound by the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which Israel refuses to sign due to its secret nuclear weapons program.