Netanyahu warns U.S. against Iran nuclear deal
ISRAELI Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the United States Tuesday against agreeing to a nuclear deal with Iran and working with a country “deeply rooted in militant Islam”, saying Tehran “will always be an enemy of America”.
“If the deal now being negotiated is accepted by Iran, that deal will not prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons – it will all but guarantee that Iran will get those nuclear weapons – lots of them,” he said.
In the most anticipated speech to the U.S. Congress by a foreign leader in years, Netanyahu said Iran’s regime was “as radical as ever,” could not be trusted and the deal being worked out with the United States would not block Iran’s way to a bomb “but paves its way to a bomb.”
“We must all stand together to stop Iran’s march of conquest, subjugation and terror,” he said.
Earlier, he entered the chamber to a cacophony of cheers and applause, shaking hands with dozens of lawmakers, including House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, before taking a podium and telling lawmakers he was deeply humbled.
At the start of the speech, he sought to defuse the intense politicization of his appearance, which has hardened divisions between Republicans and Democrats over the White House’s approach to stopping Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
He said he was grateful to Obama for his public and private support of Israel, including U.S. military assistance and contributions to Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system.
“I regret that some see my appearance here as political,” he said. “I know that no matter which side of the aisle you sit on, you stand with Israel.”
The speech escalated Netanyahu’s campaign against President Barack Obama’s Iran diplomacy, putting unprecedented stress on the two leaders’ already strained ties.
Although given the cold shoulder by the U.S. administration, Netanyahu on Monday offered an olive branch, saying he meant no disrespect to Obama by accepting an invitation to speak to U.S. lawmakers that was orchestrated by the president’s rival Republicans.
He said the United States should not lift sanctions until Iran “changes its behavior”, a comment that could stiffen support among Republicans to maintain U.S. sanctions on Iran or seek to escalate them.
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