The weekend announcement that a coalition of countries had reached a preliminary deal to contain the Iranian nuclear program was met with harsh criticism from those who doubt the Middle Eastern nation, deeply rooted in its 1979 anti-Western revolution, has any desire to change its previously hostile policies.
Israel is chief among the critics of the latest deal, struck by representatives from the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany, known as P5+1. News organizations there dedicated most of their top headline space Monday morning to reports of harsh criticism of the plan from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and analysis for the security implications on the embattled Jewish nation.
"Israel's choice: None. Deal's done," and "It'll hurt Israel more than Iran," were two analysis headlines at Haaretz. "Netanyahu said to have warned Obama over Iranian nuclear deal," was the top story at the Jerusalem Post homepage.
Much has been made in recent days of the level of conversation between the Obama administration and Netanyahu's government as P5+1 neared an initial accord. The U.S. and Israel have historically enjoyed a close relationship, with Israel as one of the world's largest recipients of military aid. But insider reports indicate Obama's perceived liberal international policies don't jive with a more hardline approach from the Israeli leader.
"The prime minister made it clear to the most powerful man on earth that if he intends to stay the most powerful man on earth, it's important to make a change in American policy," said Tzachi Hanegbi, a member of Netanyahu's ruling Likud party, according to the Post. "The practical result of his current policy is liable to lead him to the same failure that the Americans absorbed in North Korea and Pakistan, and Iran could be next in line."
Military analysts within Israel are now turning much of their attention to the likelihood of success if Israel were to launch an aerial strike against Iran's existing nuclear facilities.
A similar dialogue is echoed in Saudi Arabia, a known rival of Iran on issues throughout the region. The Saudi government refused a seat on the Security Council, citing Western ineffectiveness at resolving Middle East issues.
Nawaf Obaid, a senior adviser to the Saudi royal family, accused the West of deceiving Saudi Arabia by reaching a temporary deal with Iran.
"We were lied to, things were hidden from us," he said, according to the Telegraph, citing not the contents of the deal but that it was reached in secret.
A statement from the Saudi government greets the deal as "good intentions" that could lead to a comprehensive agreement on Iran's nuclear capabilities, the Guardian reports. But the statement warned that such a solution should address all such weapons of mass destruction throughout the Middle East.
The temporary deal, announced late Saturday, begins the process of chipping away at international sanctions against Iran, largely restricting international banking and oil exports there, in exchange for assurances it will downgrade its existing nuclear development and establish a framework of international oversight. Many of the details remain in flux, including how the U.S., U.N. and European Union will begin to ease their sanctions.
Representatives of the U.S. government have stressed in recent weeks that the initial sanctions lifted would be largely superficial until Iran can prove it is meeting its end of the deal.
A White House official said Sunday the initial sanctions to be eased will be "temporary, targeted and reversible."
The Iranian government has framed the latest agreement as international recognition of "Iran's nuclear rights."
"During the talks, the world came to understand that respecting the Iranian nation would bear results, and sanctions would not work," said Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday, according to state-run news service Fars.