This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal

In Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's view, things just got a whole lot worse.

"The world is a much more dangerous place today than it was yesterday," Netanyahu said in a press conference Tuesday morning in response to the agreement between Iran and other six nations. "The leading international powers have bet our collective future on a deal with the foremost sponsor of international terrorism."

Netanyahu has not been shy about his opposition to the negotiations, which concluded with the deal's announcement early Tuesday morning. Before the agreement's formal unveiling on Tuesday, Netanyahu called it a "historic mistake for the world."

Though a senior administration official confirmed that President Obama hadn't spoken with Netanyahu in the immediate hours after the deal was announced, the two did connect by early Tuesday afternoon.

According to a readout of the call, Obama told the prime minister that the U.S. will "remain vigilant in countering the Iranian regime's destabilizing activities in the region," and is committed to supporting Israel's security. The deal removes "the specter of a nuclear-armed Iran," Obama said, but doesn't lessen the administration's concerns about Iran's threats to Israel or its bolstering of terrorist activities.

The readout contains no information about what Netanyahu told the president.

Netanyahu's perspective has been important to some members of Congress, particularly on the Republican side, who have tried to use unequivocal support for Israel as a wedge issue. Earlier this year, House Speaker John Boehner defied diplomatic protocol by inviting Netanyahu to speak to a joint session specifically "to address Congress on the grave threats radical Islam and Iran pose to our security and way of life." During his speech in March, Netanyahu called the negotiations with Iran a "bad deal" and said it "doesn't block Iran's path to the bomb, it paves Iran's path to the bomb."

In his Tuesday statement, Netanyahu echoed those claims. He warned that the deal doesn't force Iran to curb its "aggressive behavior" in the region. He said the pact will "reward" Iran with billions of dollars it can spend to promote that aggression, support terrorism, and continue its efforts to "destroy Israel, which are ongoing."

Netanyahu referenced how Iranian President Hassan Rouhani attended a pro-Palestine rally last week—where protesters shouted anti-American and anti-Israeli chants—as evidence that Iran hasn't changed. And Netanyahu quoted the head of Hezbollah, on his support for sanctions relief: The Hezbollah leader said that a "rich and strong Iran will be able to stand by" its friends in the region "more than at any time in the past."

"Translation: Iran's support for terrorism and subversion will actually increase after the deal," Netanyahu said.

But he reminded his fellow Israelis that his nation is not party to the agreement with Iran.

"Israel is not bound by this deal with Iran, because Iran continues to seek our destruction," he said. "We will always defend ourselves."

This story has been updated with information about President Obama's phone call with the prime minister.


Rebecca Nelson contributed to this article

This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.

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