US rejects Netanyahu’s demand that Iran recognize Israel in final nuclear deal

The US State Department spokeswoman brushed off Prime Minister Netanyahu’s demand that any final deal with Iran must include Iranian recognition of Israel’s right to exist.

“Israel demands that any final agreement with Iran will include a clear and unambiguous Iranian recognition of Israel’s right to exist,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared on Friday, after the Israeli cabinet unanimously rejected the framework nuclear deal made a day earlier between the six global powers, led by the US, and Tehran.

“Just two days ago, Iran said that ‘the destruction of Israel is non-negotiable,’ Netanyahu said. “Well, I want to make clear to all. The survival of Israel is non-negotiable. Israel will not accept an agreement which allows a country that vows to annihilate us to develop nuclear weapons, period.”

Marie Harf, acting spokesperson for the US Department of State, gave a curt response to the Israeli leader’s demand, apparently insinuating that his concern – shared by all political party leaders, including the opposition – was irrelevant to the issue.

“This is an agreement that is only about the nuclear issue,” Harf remarked on Saturday, as reported by Fox News. “This is an agreement that doesn’t deal with any other issues, nor should it.”

On Sunday, speaking on CNN, Netanyahu explained his position, saying that the deal “keeps Iran’s vast nuclear infrastructure in place. Not a single centrifuge destroyed, not a single nuclear facility shut down, including the underground facilities that they built illicitly. Thousands of centrifuges will keep spinning, enriching uranium, that’s a very bad deal.”

According to Fox, Harf’s comment “indicates the Obama administration is not looking to enshrine Israel’s security into a final agreement.”