by Ari Soffer
Netanyahu reacts to Basij commander's 'wiping Israel off the map' comments, says P5+1 can and must insist on a better nuclear deal.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu responded Wednesday to yesterday's statement by a senior Iranian military official that Israel should be "wiped of the map", once again criticizing international powers for softening their stance on Iran's nuclear program while Tehran simultaneously pursues an ever more aggressive foreign policy.
"Yesterday an Iranian general brazenly declared and I quote: 'Israel's destruction is non-negotiable', but evidently giving Iran's murderous regime a clear path to the bomb is negotiable," Netanyahu said of the comments by the Commander of Iran’s Basij (volunteer) Force, Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi.
"This is unconscionable," Netanyahu declared.
"I agree with those who have said that Iran's claim that its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes doesn't square with Iran's insistence on keeping underground nuclear facilities, advanced centrifuges and a heavy water reactor," he added. "Nor does it square with Iran's insistence on developing ICBMs (Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles) and its refusal to come clean with the IAEA on its past weaponization efforts."
Turning from Iran's nuclear program to its increased use of terrorist and other proxies to expand its control over the wider Middle East, the prime minister noted how "at the same time, Iran is accelerating its campaign of terror, subjugation and conquest throughout the region, most recently in Yemen," where Shia Houthi rebels, backed by Iran, have ousted the Yemeni government.
"The concessions offered to Iran in Lausanne would ensure a bad deal that would endanger Israel, the Middle East and the peace of the world," he continued, echoing statements he made earlier this week in which the PM warned the deal under discussion is worse than he had feared.
"Now is the time for the international community to insist on a better deal," Netanyahu insisted.
"A better deal would significantly roll back Iran's nuclear infrastructure. A better deal would link the eventual lifting of the restrictions on Iran's nuclear program to a change in Iran's behavior.
"Iran must stop its aggression in the region, stop its terrorism throughout the world and stop its threats to annihilate Israel. That should be non-negotiable and that's the deal that the world powers must insist upon."
Netanyahu's comments come after the US confirmed it would be once again extending the deadline for a deal with Iran, after the recent March 31 deadline came and went yesterday.
It is the third deadline to have been missed by P5+1 negotiators.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said enough progress had been made to warrant an extension, although there still were "several difficult issues" to bridge.
Iranian negotiator Hamid Baidinejad meanwhile, said his country was in no rush to reach a deal.
"The negotiations will end when solutions have been found," he said, in comments cited by the BBC. "We are not watching the clock."
It has been charged that President Barack Obama is "desperate" to seal a deal and score a foreign policy "achievement," even as Israel and other sources warn the deal threatens to leave the Islamic regime with the ability to rapidly produce a nuclear arsenal at the time of its choosing.
Strengthening concerns that a bad deal is being formed, an aide to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani who defected last week revealed the American negotiating team is just speaking "speak on Iran’s behalf with other members of the P5+1 countries and convince them of a deal."
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