Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasted the framework agreement reached by world powers to curb Iran's nuclear program, repeatedly calling it a "free path to a bomb" that will spark an arms race in the Middle East.
Under the framework announced last week, international sanctions would be lifted in phases if Iran meets its commitments. The International Atomic Energy Agency would conduct inspections to monitor significant limits on Iranian nuclear facilities, and the restrictions would be in place for at least a decade.
In a series of interviews on Sunday political talk shows, Netanyahu called for world leaders to strike a "better deal" that significantly — and permanently — rolls back Iran's nuclear infrastructure. Sanctions should be ratcheted up — not lifted — to pressure Iran until it stops its "aggression in the region," he said. Netanyahu questioned whether inspections would be effective, saying Iran has shown that it cannot be trusted.
"I wouldn't bet the shop on inspections," the Israeli leader said on CNN's "State of the Union." "It's not a country that you can place your trust in. And it's not a country that you're going to resolve its congenital cheating. You're just not going to replace it by placing more inspectors there."
The "very, very bad" agreement only allows Iran to build a vast arsenal by placing temporary restrictions and lifting sanctions that had crippled the country's economy, Netanyahu said. He repeatedly said the agreement would "pump up their terror machine worldwide." Echoing concerns among skeptics of the framework, Netanyahu said it would spark a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, with Sunnis states already seeing Shiite Iran as a major threat.
"I think this is a dream deal for Iran and a nightmare deal for the world," Netanyahu said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
Netanyahu did not outwardly criticize President Obama, but he said there is a "legitimate difference of view" between the two leaders. Netanyahu said he believes Obama is doing what is best for the United States. But the agreement will jeopardize not only Israel but also surrounding countries in the Middle East, the Israeli leader said on ABC's "This Week." The framework agreement does not block Iran's path to nuclear weapons, and instead paves it, he said.