Benjamin Netanyahu has said he will press U.S. president-elect Donald Trump to unwind the Iran nuclear deal, saying there are “various ways of undoing” it.
Speaking to 60 Minutes this week, the Israeli prime minister denied that the animosity between him and Barack Obama was personal, but also denied that it was disrespectful to appear before the U.S. Congress to lobby against the deal, while negotiations were in a delicate phase.
And when asked whether rescinding the deal would mean Iran “rushing to the bomb,” Netanyahu appeared to contradict his key message of the past decade, in which he has argued that Iran was racing towards its goal of being a nuclear-armed state.
“I think Iran didn’t rush to the bomb before there was a deal, because they were afraid of retribution,” he said, in contrast to remarks in 2012, when he told the United Nations’ General Assembly (UNGA) that Iran was 70 percent towards completing its “plans to build a nuclear weapon”.
Asked what he would replace the Iran nuclear deal with, Netanyahu said there were “quite a few” options, and “various ways of undoing it,” but that he would discuss them with president-elect Donald Trump, who said earlier this year said: “My number one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran.”
Despite Trump’s remarks, Netanyahu’s renewed campaign for a U.S. withdrawal from the six-state agreement will still be an uphill battle.
Gen. James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis, a tough-talking former Marine Corps general who Trump chose as his secretary of defence, is known to be hawkish on Iran, but says there should be “no going back” on the deal. Inspectors also say it is working, with Iran having dismantled its apparatus and shipped its nuclear material overseas, and Western intelligence agencies are united in thinking the tougher inspection regime gives the world a better chance of understanding Iran’s intentions and capability.