​Israel wants ‘permanent stand-off’ with Tehran - UK Foreign Sec

Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. (Reuters/Ammar Awad)
Israel wants a “permanent stand-off” with Iran, which is not in the interests of the Middle East or the UK, says Britain’s Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond.

He told Parliament on Wednesday that Israel would have rejected any deal on Iran’s nuclear program.

The Foreign Secretary’s comments come on the same day Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the historic agreement as giving Tehran a “path to a nuclear arsenal.”

Iran signed a deal with six leading world powers (China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK and the US) in Vienna on Tuesday, which ended international sanctions against the country in return for restrictions on its controversial nuclear program.

The deal is widely seen as a thawing in relations between Iran and the West, and in particular with the United States.

However, Israeli PM Netanyahu has condemned the agreement for giving Tehran a license to develop nuclear weapons.

I think this deal gives Iran a path to a nuclear arsenal, and I think it gives them hundreds of billions of dollars right away with which to pursue their aggression and terror against us and against the United States and the world,” Netanyahu told America’s National Public Radio.

The Israeli PM went on to say that the deal allows Iran to enrich uranium at any level after a decade.

So I think, if the idea is, well, at least we get them away from the bomb — no, you don't,” he said.

READ MORE: Iranian nuke deal: Breath of fresh air for Tehran

You, at most, might delay it, but I don't think you will because they could cheat. And if you delay it, they'll fan out with the capacity to make the nuclear fissile core necessary for atomic bomb.

Britain’s Foreign Secretary, who was involved in the Vienna talks, told Parliament Israel would never be happy with a deal with Iran.

The question you have to ask yourself is what kind of a deal would have been welcomed in Tel Aviv?” he said.

The answer, of course, is that Israel doesn’t want any deal with Iran. Israel wants a permanent state of stand-off and I don’t believe that’s in the interest of the region, I don’t believe it’s in our interest.”

The Foreign Secretary added that even the head of Israel’s secret service Mossad believed the failure to resolve the Palestinian conflict was a bigger threat to the nation’s security than Iran.

READ MORE: Skeptics, snapbacks & Netanyahu: How Iran nuclear deal could still be derailed

Hammond warned that had the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program not been settled diplomatically, it would have ultimately led to military conflict.

The real alternative to a deal that prevents Iran building a nuclear bomb almost at some stage would have been war. What we have averted with this agreement is the threat and a prospect of a war,” he said.

The Foreign Secretary will visit Israel on Wednesday for a meeting with Netanyahu in which he will discuss the agreement.

I will set out the case to the Israeli Prime Minister and I’ve no doubt I’ll hear – in great length – his opposition,” he told Parliament.