May 8, 2018 / 7:19 PM / a year ago

Netanyahu hails Trump over Iran, says nuclear deal was 'recipe for disaster'

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a news conference with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras at the Presidential Palace in Nicosia, Cyprus May 8, 2018. REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou/Pool

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday hailed U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from an international nuclear agreement with Iran, saying it had been a “recipe for disaster”.

The Israeli leader, who long called for the deal between Western powers and Iran to be fixed or cancelled, spoke moments after Trump announced his decision in a speech at the White House.

“... Israel thinks that President Trump made an historic move, and this is why Israel thanks President Trump for his courageous leadership, his commitment to confront the terrorist regime in Tehran, and his commitment to ensure that Iran never gets nuclear weapons, not today, not in a decade, not ever,” Netanyahu said in a brief televised address.

Trump said he was reimposing economic sanctions on Iran and pulling the U.S. out of the 2015 international agreement aimed at stopping Tehran from obtaining a nuclear bomb. The decision is likely to raise the risk of conflict in the Middle East.

In his announcement, Trump cited Israel’s publication last week of what it said was a trove of seized, secret Iranian documents showing Tehran had a past nuclear weapons programme.

Most of that purported evidence dated to the period before the 2015 accord was signed, although Netanyahu said Iran had also kept important files on nuclear technology since then and continued adding to its “nuclear weapons knowledge”.

Iran dismissed the Israeli allegations as Netanyahu “crying wolf”.

Writing by Ori Lewis; Editing by Stephen Farrell and Gareth Jones

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