Netanyahu wants Iran deal to cover missile capacity

AFP , Tuesday 7 Apr 2015

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu kept up his offensive against the framework nuclear deal with Iran on Tuesday, saying it fails to address Tehran's long-range missile arsenal.

"Why doesn't the framework address Iran's intercontinental ballistic missile programme whose sole purpose is to carry nuclear payloads?" he asked on his official Twitter account.

He said the economic benefits from the easing of sanctions would go to fund Iran-sponsored radicals across the Middle East.

"What is to stop Iran from using the over one hundred billion dollars that will be unfrozen as part of this agreement to fund aggression and terror in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and elsewhere," he tweeted.

It was the latest salvo in transatlantic sniping on the issue between Netanyahu's office and the White House.

On Sunday, Netanyahu demanded that Iranian recognition of the Jewish state's right to exist be written into last week's agreement.

The following day US President Barack Obama rejected that call in an interview with US radio network NPR.

"The notion that we would condition Iran not getting nuclear weapons in a verifiable deal on Iran recognising Israel, is really akin to saying that we won't sign a deal unless the nature of the Iranian regime completely transforms," Obama said.

"And that is, I think, a fundamental misjudgement."

Ephraim Halevy, a former head of Israel's Mossad intelligence agency, said Tuesday that the strident Israeli declarations on the emerging deal could run counter to the Jewish state's interests.

"I think we find ourselves in a moment of national paranoia," he told publicly-owned Channel One television. "It is not appropriate to our reality, our ability."

"We are the strongest country in the Middle East, and the strongest country in the Middle East should not be saying every day that it is in danger of destruction," he said.

"Israel cannot be destroyed and it is about time that the citizens of Israel understand that, internalise it and behave appropriately," he said.

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