JERUSALEM, Israel -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says relaxed Western sanctions against Iran is already falling apart.
Netanyahu had warned world leaders against making a deal with Iran on its nuclear program. The deal relaxes sanctions in exchange for certain temporary concessions regarding uranium enrichment, international observers, and other things.
He's been very vocal since the deal was signed.
"There appears to be general relaxation of sanctions, and a rush to accommodate Iran, and to make it legitimate as if Iran has changed anything of its actual policy," Netanyahu said before leaving Rome on Monday.
Netanyahu, who spent years convincing the international community to impose sanctions on Iran in order to push back its nuclear program, said if the sanctions regimen collapses, that would be the end of trying to stop Iran's nuclear program peacefully.
At this point, some officials are more concerned about the fallout in U.S.-Israel relations from Netanyahu's outspoken criticism.
Secretary of State John Kerry, a strong proponent of the deal, is due in Israel on Wednesday in part to try to assuage Israeli concerns over the deal, some media reports say.
One report in the Israeli left-wing daily Ha'aretz on Tuesday downplayed the rift between Israel and Washington over the deal.
One unnamed senior U.S. official who was described as being "intimately involved in formulating Obama's policy on the Iranian issue" was quoted as saying the U.S. understands "that on the Iranian issue there is public support in Israel for a hard line."
"We are not looking to avoid confrontation with Iran…but there is a window where sanctions, new leadership in Iran, and international unity give us a chance to solve this thing diplomatically more than any time before. We got our leverage and we want to use it," the official said.
In a television interview, Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid said Israel had earned the right "to be listened to."
But he said while Israel would be "loud" and "blunt" about its concerns, it recognized relations with the United States as Israel's most important strategic asset.
In a survey taken last week among Israeli Jews, 49 percent said Israel should seek new allies, while 45 percent said no.
But in the survey by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University, 70 percent of Jewish Israelis said they didn't believe the United States would not find new allies and 71 percent said they believe the United States is Israel's most important ally.