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The United Nations Security Council votes on a resolution at the U.N. headquarters in New York on July 20. The Council endorsed a deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program in return for sanctions relief, but it will be able to re-impose U.N. penalties during the next decade if Tehran breaches the historic agreement.

MIKE SEGAR/REUTERS

The United Nations Security Council on Monday unanimously endorsed the historic nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers reached last week – a move that angered Israelis who regard the Iranian regime as the greatest threat to the Jewish state.

The European Union also approved the deal, a first step towards lifting Europe's economic sanctions against Tehran.

At the UN, U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power called the agreement an important diplomatic achievement that makes the world a safer place.

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Iran's UN envoy, Gholamali Khoshroo, promised that his country would be "resolute in fulfilling its obligations" to curb its nuclear program under the agreement, while Ms. Power pledged that the United States would be vigilant in ensuring they are carried out.

Indeed, the deal provides a so-called "snap-back" mechanism for UN sanctions that would reinstate punitive economic measures should Iran fail to meet its obligations.

In Israel, reaction was far less sanguine. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Knesset Monday "the hypocrisy knows no bounds.

"The UN Security Council is giving its approval to [a] country which has systematically violated the UNSC's decisions and which calls for the destruction of Israel, a member of the UN," he declared to the applause of most members of the Israeli parliament.

Israel's reaction partly stems from the Iranian rhetoric that followed the announcement of the nuclear agreement.

On Saturday, Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, praised Iranian demonstrators who recently called for "Death to Israel" (and to the United States). The Ayatollah said such slogans would continue to be heard in the Islamic Republic and that he believed God would answer their prayers and put an end to what he called the "terrorist, child-killing Zionist regime."

Then, on Monday, an Iranian official rejected a demand made by German Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel concerning Israel's safety.

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Shortly after arriving in Iran on Sunday, Mr. Gabriel said his country was willing to discuss a helpful new economic relationship with Iran but under one condition: "Questioning [Israel's] right to existence is something that we Germans cannot accept."

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham said Germany's views on Israel's existence will "not sway" the Islamic Republic's policy.

"We have totally different views from Germany on certain regional issues in the Middle East and we have explicitly expressed our viewpoints in different negotiations – this is not something new," Ms. Afkham is quoted as saying.

Even before the Security Council passed the resolution in New York, Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander Mohammad Ali Jafari denounced it for interfering with Iran's military operations and crossing "red lines" set by Ayatollah Khamenei.

"We will never accept it," he was quoted as saying by the semi-official Tasnim News Agency.

Iranian hardliners are worried that UN inspectors may gain some access to sensitive military sites under the resolution, which becomes international law.

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In the Knesset, Mr. Netanyahu aruged that the agreement "brings war closer."

"First," he said, "because Iran will receive hundreds of billions of dollars and it is already openly declaring that it will use this money to finance and arm its terrorist movements and its aggression in the region and around the world.

"Second, there will be a nuclear arms race in the Middle East," he added, hinting at the idea that Saudi Arabia, and perhaps Egypt and Turkey, will seek to become nuclear threshold states just like Iran.

The Israeli leader said he would not rest until the Iranian regime is made "to make concessions – and not just receive them."

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter is in Israel this week to try to mollify the Israeli leadership. While Mr. Carter made it clear he had no intention of trying to change Mr. Netanyahu's mind about the deal with Iran, he does come bearing gifts – another reason, perhaps, why Israel might have been right to reject the deal.

The United States is offering Israel what U.S. National Security adviser Susan Rice calls an unprecedented aid package as a way to demonstrate Washington's commitment to Israel.

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Such a "strategic compensation and co-ordination package," believed to contain the kind of military assistance that would keep Israel's prowess second to none in the region, was offered to Mr. Netanyahu several weeks ago and rejected.

The Israeli Prime Minister was reported to have told his officials that he has no intention of taking a payoff in return for this bad agreement. There is no compensation – in money or kind – that can make up for turning Iran into a nuclear threshold state, he said.

The latest package is believed to have been suggested to Mr. Netanyahu in a telephone conversation last week with U.S. President Barack Obama, after the agreement signing in Vienna. Mr. Carter will apparently flesh out some of the proposal's details in a meeting Tuesday with Mr. Netanyahu.

A number of Israelis are trying to persuade the Prime Minister to reconsider his blanket "no."

Leader of the Opposition Isaac Herzog, who agrees that the nuclear deal is bad for Israel and who plans to lobby the U.S. Congress to maintain its own sanctions against Iran, urged Mr. Netanyahu to accept the U.S. compensatory offer.

As well, senior Israel Defence Forces officers were reported by Army Radio Monday night to have urged the Prime Minister to take advantage of this unique opportunity to obtain the kinds of weapons they will need to guard against Iran if and when it violates the agreement and moves closer to a nuclear weapon.

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With files from Reuters

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