An Israeli official told The New York Times on Saturday that the country would continue to criticize the nuclear agreement with Iran and would not be pressured to stop voicing its objections.
The statement came in response to comments Friday by Secretary of State John Kerry, who warned that Israel might be blamed if Congress blocked the accord and that as a result Israel might “wind up being more isolated.”
“We reject the threats directed at Israel in recent days,” the official said in a statement provided to The New York Times.
“The U.S. Congress will make its decision based on American interests, which include consideration of U.S. allies,” added the official, who asked not to be named.
“The regrettable attempt to intimidate Israel will not prevent us from voicing our concerns about this deal, which poses direct threats to Israel’s security.”
Kerry’s comments on Friday came in a speech at the Council of Foreign Relations in New York.
“I fear that what could happen is if Congress were to overturn [the deal], our friends in Israel could actually wind up being more isolated and more blamed,” he said. “And we would lose Europe and China and Russia with respect to whatever military action we might have to take because we will have turned our backs on a very legitimate program that allows us to put their program to the test over these next years.”
The talk at the Council of Foreign Relations came hours after Kerry warned Israel that a unilateral strike on Iran's covert nuclear program would be a "huge mistake."
Appearing on NBC, Kerry was asked if the Iran nuclear deal sealed last Tuesday would make it more likely that Israel will either physically strike Iran's nuclear facilities, or else launch a cyber attack against them.
"That'd be an enormous mistake, a huge mistake with grave consequences for Israel and for the region, and I don't think it's necessary," Kerry answered.
Washington and Jerusalem are divided over the Iran deal, with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu having repeatedly warned that it is a bad deal. This week, Netanyahu reiterated his warning in a meeting with Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović.