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Netanyahu: In Any Final Deal, Iran Must Recognize Israel's Right To Exist

Updated at 10:15 a.m. ET

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is insisting that any final agreement with Iran over its nuclear program include a "clear and unambiguous Iranian commitment of Israel's right to exist."

Netanyahu's comments, made in a statement Friday, come a day after six world powers and Iran, after years of negotiations, reached a preliminary understanding about the Islamic Republic's nuclear program. President Obama said that if fully implemented, the deal would prevent Iran "from obtaining nuclear weapons."

But the deal announced Thursday has opponents in the U.S. Congress as well as in the form of Netanyahu. The Israeli leader has for years said Iran is an existential threat to his country, and while it's unclear what effect his opposition to the deal may have, it will likely bolster the arguments of congressional critics of talks with Iran.

Netanyahu reiterated his opposition Friday.

"The proposed agreement would constitute a real danger to the region and the world, and it would threaten the existence of Israel," he said.

Netanyahu told Obama on Thursday that if the now-public agreement becomes the basis for a final deal, Israel's survival would be threatened. Obama disagreed, according to a White House description of the call, telling the Israeli leader that the preliminary agreement marks significant progress toward ending Iran's ability to build a bomb.

Israel's security Cabinet met Friday to evaluate the preliminary agreement and was unanimously opposed to it.

Mark Regev, the Israeli prime minister's spokesman, tweeted Netanyahu's opposition to the deal. You can find those remarks here.

In Tehran, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a televised address to the nation that the framework agreement keeps our "centrifuges going and economy going."

He said upon the implementation of the final agreement, expected at the end of June, U.N. resolutions against Iran will be lifted. He said the framework agreement showed that "we can cooperate with the world."

He said the framework agreement, which allows Iran to enrich uranium on its own territory, shows that all of the "nuclear technology we possess is merely for developing Iran — not against any country, whether in the region or the world."

"We do not intend to cheat. We will keep our promises," he said. "And we will honor these pledges provided that the other side honors their pledges as well."

He added: "If one day, they want to take another path, then the Iranian nation will have other options."

Rouhani's Twitter account carried his comments. You can find them here.

You can find our full coverage of this story, including details of the preliminary deal, here.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Krishnadev Calamur is NPR's deputy Washington editor. In this role, he helps oversee planning of the Washington desk's news coverage. He also edits NPR's Supreme Court coverage. Previously, Calamur was an editor and staff writer at The Atlantic. This is his second stint at NPR, having previously worked on NPR's website from 2008-15. Calamur received an M.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri.

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