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Israeli nuclear body endorses Iran deal, report says

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is pictured during a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Berlin on  Oct. 22. (Carlo Allegri/Pool Photo via AP)
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Israel's Atomic Energy Commission, a panel whose members advise the government on nuclear issues, has apparently endorsed the controversial nuclear deal with Iran, according to a report published by the Israeli daily Haaretz. A source "familiar with the commission's stance" told the left-leaning newspaper that its members believed that the deal would effectively curb Iranian ambitions to develop a nuclear weapon.

"The panel’s position runs directly counter to that of [Israeli] Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, cabinet ministers and most of the political opposition," Haaretz noted. The panel apparently also believes that any potential Iranian violation of the deal, which is in the process of coming into effect, will be "detected easily" by outside surveillance and international monitors.

Netanyahu has been perhaps the most outspoken figure in opposition to the deal, and most recently scolded international dignitaries at the United Nations General Assembly for their "deafening silence" over the threat the Islamic Republic poses to Israel and the Middle East.

A proposed agreement forged between Iran and world powers — the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany — won Tehran sanctions relief provided it abides by strict measures to limit and control Iran's ability to produce enriched uranium. According to Haaretz, the viewpoint of Israel's Atomic Energy Commission "deals only with the technical aspects of the agreement, and not with the geostrategic implications of its non-technical clauses, such as the gradual lifting of sanctions on Iran."

It does echo the views of a number of other prominent members of Israel's security establishment, who, while harboring no love for the regime in Tehran, consider the current diplomatic efforts the best route forward and oppose Netanyahu's conspicuous protests.

The commission made no formal comment to Haaretz regarding its position. As Israeli journal Anshel Pfeffer notes, the panel's director general reports directly to the office of the Israeli prime minister.