Benjamin Netanyahu and Hammond spar over Iran nuclear deal at joint press conference – Jerusalem Post
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sparred publicly over the Iran deal on Thursday in a joint press conference prior to a meeting in Jerusalem.
Hammond’s visit came a day after he lambasted the Israeli leader for criticizing the nuclear deal, contending that Israel would not have been happy with any deal, and that it preferred a permanent state of stand off.
The British foreign secretary said Thursday during the press conference that he knows Israel has “disagreed fundamentally” with the West’s approach to Iran’s nuclear program, but that the deal represents the best path to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
Netanyahu took issue with Hammond’s assertion that, according to the deal, sanctions relief for Iran would be dependent on the Islamic Republic’s behavior.
“There is no requirement for Iran to change its behavior and that’s what makes this deal fundamentally wrong,” Netanyahu told Hammond.
Netanyahu praised the UK’s efforts to fight anti-Semitism, but asked Hammond why Britain was not condemning Iran for a rally in which crowds chanted “Death to Israel,” just days before the nuclear deal was signed.
“We will judge Iran not by the chants on the streets of Tehran, but by the actions of its government,” Hammond answered.
Netanyahu replied that Iran and its proxies have hundreds of thousands of missiles pointed at Israel, so it actually was more than just chants, it is actions.
Hammond said that Israel has legitimate concerns about a nuclear Iran, but that the deal would prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. “We would not have agreed to the deal unless we were sure we had robust measures in place to control Iran’s nuclear program,” he claimed.
“Despite our different views, I urge Israel to work with the UK to ensure the deal’s fully implemented and effectively monitored,” Hammond said, adding that this was the best way to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
Hammond met earlier with opposition leader Isaac Herzog and his Zionist Union co-leader Tzipi Livni. He is in Israel as part of a one-day trip to the region.