Israeli Opposition Leader: I'm with Netanyahu When it Comes to Iran

Published: 23rd June 2015 08:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd June 2015 08:00 AM   |  A+A-

Israel's opposition leader has voiced "extreme worry" over a possible nuclear deal with Iran, declaring that there is "no daylight" between himself and Benjamin Netanyahu on the issue.

Isaac Herzog, the leader of the Israeli Labour party, was beaten into second place in the general election in March. Nevertheless, the prime minister tried to draw him into the new coalition, pointedly leaving the job of foreign minister vacant.

If the US Administration hoped that Mr Herzog might dilute Israel's visceral suspicion of an imminent nuclear deal with Iran, however, he seems likely to disappoint. One week before the deadline for a final agreement to resolve the confrontation over Iran's nuclear ambitions, Mr Herzog told The Daily Telegraph of his misgivings.

"There is no difference between me and Netanyahu in reading the threat of Iran. There is no daylight between us on this issue at all," said Mr Herzog. "I do not oppose the diplomatic process. However, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. We want to know 'what is the deal?' What's the best deal possible that can be reached and would it change the region in a better direction? And here we are worried."

Diplomats from the "P5 plus 1" contact group - consisting of the UN Security Council's five permanent members plus Germany - are meeting Iran's representatives in Vienna almost every day. The outlines of a final agreement were settled during talks in April.

Mr Herzog said the outline contained important weaknesses, notably over the rights of inspectors to enter Iran's nuclear plants. "There are some issues that must be improved substantially and we are waiting to see. I'm actually worried that they won't be fully met," he said. "One is inspections: it has to be clear that the inspection chapter includes the ability to have thorough, immediate inspections of all installations, 24/7. There are rumours of some vagueness. I'm extremely worried. I think that's the main tool to enable the agreement."

Mr Herzog repeated Mr Netanyahu's criticism that America and its allies were being rushed into a flawed agreement. "The feeling is, under the circumstances, there is a pressure on the 'P5 plus 1' to get a deal done quickly," he added.


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