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Israel ministry ‘clarifies’ comments on Iran nuclear deal


Jerusalem: Israel’s defence ministry today sought to “clarify” controversial comments it made last week criticising the Iran nuclear deal and likening it to the 1938 Munich agreement with Nazi Germany.

The defence ministry said in a statement on Monday: “Friday’s statement was in no way intended to draw comparisons, historical or personal. We regret if it was interpreted otherwise.”

“The difference in Israel’s position on this matter (the nuclear deal) from that of our close ally, the United States, in no way detracts from our deep appreciation for the United States and for the President of the United States, for their tremendous contribution to Israel’s national security.”

On Thursday, US President Barack Obama defended the landmark nuclear deal which was signed in July 2015 between Tehran and six world powers led by Washington.

The next day, Israel’s defence ministry, led by hardliner Avigdor Lieberman, slammed Obama for defending the accord with the Jewish state’s arch-foe, comparing it to the deal that allowed Nazi Germany to annex parts of then Czechoslovakia.

Netanyahu the same day repeated his country’s rejection of the nuclear deal but stressed that Israel and the United States remained great allies.

Israel’s Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz yesterday said that Tehran had so far respected the accord, even if it was a “bad deal”.

The US and Israeli governments have for several months been negotiating the terms of a new 10-year defence aid pact to replace the current one, which expires in 2018 and is worth more than USD 3 billion (2.7 billion euros) per year.

The Netanyahu government wants the United States to increase the annual amount of military assistance it provides.

The nuclear deal, which came into force in January, saw Tehran accept curbs to its nuclear programme in exchange for a lifting of economic sanctions.


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