NEW YORK : A number of former Israeli military generals and security chiefs have called upon Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to renounce his hostile stance toward the recent nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers and accept it.

In a petition signed and publicised in Israeli newspapers, the officials termed as "fait accompli" the finalisation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) by representatives from Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States - plus Germany in the Austrian capital, Vienna, on July 14.

It urges the government to pursue a policy that would "restore trust and reinforce security and diplomatic cooperation with the American administration." Doing so would "allow us to prepare to face the numerous challenges that will result from the agreement," the petition says.  

The signatories include two former heads of the Shin Bet internal security agency, Ami Ayalon and Carmi Gillon; a former deputy director of the Mossad intelligence agency, Amiram Levin; the ex-chief of the Atomic Energy Commission Uzi Eilmann; and dozens of former generals and senior officers.  The deal, aimed at curbing Iran's nuclear program in return for international sanctions relief, has been welcomed by world powers as a historic chance to set relations with Tehran on a new path.  However, Netanyahu has called it a "historic mistake" and argues that it will not block Iran's path to nuclear weapons.  He also says sanctions relief will allow Iran to increase support for proxy militants, which would lead to further destabilisation of parts of the Middle East.  His government has been lobbying the US Congress to reject the deal, with lawmakers in the United States given 60 days to review it. The review period expires in September.