Israeli Defence Ministry apologises to US on nuke deal comment

| Tuesday, August 9, 2016 - 08:21
First Published |
Israeli Defence Ministry, nazi, nuclear deal, Benjamin Netanyahu,

"We are sorry if it was interpreted differently," it says | Photo: IANS

Jerusalem: The Israeli Defence Ministry on Monday backtracked on a controversial statement it made, comparing the nuclear deal with Iran to a 1938 agreement between European powers and Nazi Germany.

"The statement on Friday was not meant to draw a direct parallel between the two deals (the Iran deal and the 1938 Munich agreement), not historically or personally," Xinhua news agency cited a defence ministry statement.

"We are sorry if it was interpreted differently," it reads.

It also added that Israel will continue to "work closely with full cooperation with the US, in mutual respect and deep appreciation".

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Israel has been the main opponent to the deal reached between the P5+1 countries (the US, Britain, Russia, China, and France plus Germany) and Iran in July, aimed at curbing the latter's nuclear ambitions. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Iran poses an "existential threat" to Israel.

The statement on Friday was issued following comments made by US President Barack Obama on Thursday. He lauded the efficacy of the Iran nuclear deal, adding that Israeli defence officials believe the deal to be successful.

Israeli officials said on Friday that Israel's defence establishment "believes that agreements are valuable only if they are based on reality," then went on to charge that the "Munich agreement did not prevent the World War 2 and the Holocaust".

The 1938 agreement "failed to do so" because it was based on the wrong assumption that "Nazi Germany could be a partner to any agreement", officials said.

Israel and the US are close allies and cooperate closely on security-related matters, with Israel being the greatest benefactor of US defence aid.

Relations turned sour on the diplomatic level in recent years, amid clashes between Obama and Netanyahu, mainly over the Iran nuclear deal, but also over Israel's ongoing conflict with the Palestinians.

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