Hammond, Netanyahu outline positions over Iran nuclear deal


Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond visited Israel yesterday in the wake of this week’s nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 powers (US, UK, France, Russia, China and Germany). At a press conference alongside Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the two leaders outlined their differing outlooks on the agreement.

Hammond emphasised that “the UK’s commitment to Israel’s security is unshakable” and said that the healthy bilateral relationship between the two countries, including trade, science and counter-terrorism “is evidence of our determination that those who wish to undermine it won’t succeed.” He then invited cooperation over the nuclear agreement, saying “Despite our different views, I urge Israel to work with the UK to ensure the deal’s fully implemented and effectively monitored.”

Hammond argued that “We would not have agreed to the deal unless we were sure we had robust measures in place to control Iran’s nuclear programme.” However, Netanyahu said that “The deal agreed to in Vienna, I regret to say, paves this terrorist regime’s path to the bomb.”

Responding to Hammond’s contention in the House of Commons on Wednesday that no deal would have satisfied Israel, Netanyahu said “The alternative is a better deal that would roll back Iran’s military nuclear program and tie the easing of restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program to changes in Iran’s behaviour.” Hammond said that although the negotiations were only ever mandated to deal with Iran’s nuclear capacity, “We are not naive about” the nature of the Tehran regime and “We understand that our many disputes with Iran about its regional conduct will remain and will have to be dealt with in the months and years to come.”

Hammond reiterated the point later in the day, telling Channel Two that “We never pretended this [nuclear accord] solves all our problems with Iran.”

In addition, Hammond met yesterday with Zionist Union leaders Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni, who have also expressed their opposition to the nuclear deal. He also visited Yad Vashem, describing it as “very moving.”