Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he looked forward to speaking to Donald Trump about what to do about the “bad” Iran deal once Trump is president.
“As far as President-elect Trump, I look forward to speaking to him about what to do about this bad deal,” Netanyahu said Sunday, addressing the annual Saban Forum via a satellite feed.
Netanyahu in his remarks reverted to the tough pre-deal rhetoric about the agreement reached last year between Iran and six major powers swapping sanctions relief for a rollback of Iran’s nuclear program.
“I opposed the deal because it doesn’t prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons, it paves the way for Iran getting nuclear weapons,” he said, referring to how some provisions of the nuclear rollback lapse in 10-15 years.
Since the pact was reached, and Obama defeated efforts in Congress to kill it in September 2015, Israel and other opponents have emphasised enforcing the deal as opposed to killing it outright. Netanyahu’s defence minister, Avigdor Lieberman, when he addressed the Saban Forum on Friday night, avoided saying he wanted the deal killed and instead focused on enforcement.
Netanyahu’s reverting to decrying the deal as not merely flawed but inherently dangerous signals that his hopes to scuttle it have revived. Trump has said the deal is a bad one, but has stopped short of saying he will pull out of it.
In another resuscitation of his pre-deal posture, Netanyahu refused to count out a military strike against Iran as a means of stopping it from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
“I mean Israel is committed, and when I say we’re committed, we’re committed” to keeping Iran from getting nuclear weapons, Netanyahu said, when pressed by Haim Saban, the Israeli-American entertainment mogul who funds the forum, on whether would use military force.
Unlike Liberman, who suggested in his Saban appearance that he was concerned a Trump administration was retreating to “splendid isolation,” Netanyahu said he was not concerned that Trump would diminish the U.S. role abroad.
“He has a clear vision of America’s role and dominance in the world,” he said. “I don’t think he’s going to put the world aside; I think the opposite is true.”