Mounting alarm in Israel as negotiators inch toward Iran nuke deal

As Western powers give in on the last points of contention with Iran over their nuclear program, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is warning that, having come this far, negotiators are likely to accept a deal "at any price."


"If even after calls for America's destruction, the concessions continued, then it is clear that some are willing to make a deal at any price," Netanyahu said at a Likud faction meeting on Wednesday.

"Were it not for our efforts over the years, Iran would have accumulated nuclear weapons already. Our commitment to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon still stands today."

Earlier, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met in Vienna on Monday afternoon, as an deal on Tehran's nuclear program inched ever closer.

Foreign ministers from the six world powers – the U.S., Russia, China, Germany, France and Britain – met in the Austrian capital earlier to discuss the final issues that remain unresolved with regard to the unfolding deal.

With an agreement apparently looming, France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said there would be a statement on the talks in the afternoon.

Iranian President Hassan Rohani was also reportedly set to address his nation at  5:30 P.M. GMT (8:30 P.M. in Israel), but his office responded to the reports, saying that the Iranian leader would only address the nation after the talks have concluded.

Speaking to reporters outside the Palais Coburg hotel, where the negotiations are taking place, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Monday morning that conditions are ripe for a deal, and that additional delays should be avoided.

The head of the Iranian delegation, Abbas Araghchi, said Monday morning that there were still obstacles in the talks. He emphasized that the talks have reached a decisive point, though unresolved issues still remain.

"Some issues still remain unresolved and until they are solved, we cannot say an agreement has been reached," he said, adding that he is hopeful but that there is no guarantee that the sides will manage to announce a deal on Monday.

A Western diplomat familiar with the talks told Haaretz on Sunday that he was optimistic about the possibility of reaching a nuclear agreement and announcing it on Monday.

So the deal is all but done, and Prime Minister Netanyahu's efforts have apparently gone for naught.  And the notion that Iran can be trusted, which is forming much of the basis for this agreement, has been accepted with little opposition.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said on Sunday that verification is key to any Iranian nuclear deal, adding that Tehran will “cheat by inches.”

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman added that Iran’s desire for nuclear weapons outweighs any diplomatic accord.

“We know they were building a bomb, we just don’t know how far along they were,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“I am concerned about this,” he added. “We have to make sure this is verifiable.”

Corker’s remarks come amid reports negotiators in Vienna are expected to reach a provisional deal curbing Iran’s nuclear program on Sunday.

Diplomats have missed four previous deadlines en route to the latest deadline on Monday.

Corker argued on Sunday that repeated delays in the talks over the last month benefit the U.S. and its allies.

“I am glad they are taking their time,” he said of negotiators.

“I actually think the deadline was working in Iran’s favor,” Corker added of the original June 30 end point for a final deal.

Congress now has 60 days to review any potential agreement as a result of the repeated extensions.

Corker vowed on Sunday that lawmakers would do what is best for both Americans and the greater international community too.

“We have a responsibility on this,” he said of Congress. “We understand our position.”

Congress is not going to like any inspections regime that does not include snap inspections of military installations in Iran.  If Kerry has given in on that issue, it will be very hard to get Congress to sign off on the deal.

There are probably a lot more objectionable provisions in the deal.  Democrats are going to have to decide where their loyalty lies – with President Obama or with the safety of America.

If you experience technical problems, please write to