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Iran calls Netanyahu ‘desperate’ post nuclear deal

December 3, 2013

TEHRAN (AP) — Iran’s foreign minister said Tuesday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has become desperate after the Islamic Republic agreed last month to cap its nuclear program in return for easing Western sanctions.

A report by the semi-official ISNA news agency quotes Mohammad Javad Zarif as saying Netanyahu had deceived the world for a long time but “he is desperate now and he does not know what to do.”

Iran agreed to freeze parts of its nuclear program in return for relief from Western sanctions while the sides try to negotiate a final settlement in the next six months. Netanyahu has sharply criticized the deal as not tough enough on Iran.

Zarif accused Netanyahu of floating negative propaganda to harm Iran’s image, but says regardless the country’s “integrity will remain steady.”

The remarks appeared largely aimed at hardliners inside Iran who regularly allege Zarif has given excessive concessions to the West. Israel and the West suspect Iran’s nuclear program has a military dimension. Iran denies the charge.

Meanwhile in Israel, an opinion poll suggested widespread skepticism over the nuclear deal.

A poll by the Israel Democracy Institute think tank and Tel Aviv University found that 77 percent of Israelis don’t believe the deal will prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in the region Wednesday to discuss the Iran deal with Netanyahu and to advance Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Monday’s poll surveyed 601 Israelis and had a margin of error of 4.5 percentage points.

Update hourly