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After Iran Nuclear Deal, What's Israel's Next Step?


We are getting reaction this morning to a nuclear agreement announced in Vienna between the United States, five other world powers and Iran. U.S. officials say this deal will restrict Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons while easing economic sections on the country. But the deal has already drawn sharp negative and expected reaction from Isreal's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who says it will give Iran a sure path to nuclear weapons.


PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: This is a bad mistake of stark proportions.

GREENE: We're joined now by journalist Daniel Estrin, who is reporting on the story in Jerusalem. Daniel, good morning.

DANIEL ESTRIN: Good morning.

GREENE: And, Daniel, what we just heard there from Netanyahu - not unexpected, of course, but just summarize, if you can - remind us his position about this deal and why he really is against it.

ESTRIN: Well, Netanyahu is blaming world powers - the world powers who negotiated the deal. He says, this is what you get when you're willing to reach a deal at any cost. He says the world powers have caved to Iran, and now commentators in Israel are saying that Netanyahu's next step is likely going to be to try to lobby the U.S. Congress to block the deal.

GREENE: And, of course, the whole backdrop of this is Israel always feeling that Iran - you know, as there has been rhetoric from before from Iran suggesting that they want to wipe Israel off the - off the map.

ESTRIN: Right. Israel considers it an existential threat.

GREENE: And so you're saying the chatter now is that he will somehow lobby lawmakers in the United States to be the ones to really block this and prevent the president from getting this through.

ESTRIN: We don't know what Netanyahu's next steps are going to be. We have heard from some leaders in Israel that the next steps are to work through diplomatic channels to try to prevent this deal from going through. Remember, the anger here is across the political spectrum. Even Netanyahu's critics seem to agree with his main concerns. It's interesting that his critics are also saying that it's partly Netanyahu's fault. Netanyahu's main rival wrote on Facebook that this nuclear deal - when it was being negotiated, Israel wasn't in the picture. Isreal wasn't updated. And he's saying that all of that is in part because of Netanyahu's bad personal relations with President Obama. Netanyahu angered Obama when he went to Congress a number of months ago and lobbied against the deal.

GREENE: All right. That is reaction to this nuclear deal with Iran in Israel, a country that has been very critical of the deal. Daniel Estrin, reporting from Jerusalem. Daniel, thanks very much.

ESTRIN: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.