By Roman Orsini
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke before Congress about the ongoing U.S. nuclear negotiations with Iran on Tuesday, March 3. Netanyahu warned of Iranian aggression and that the deal being negotiated could still empower Iran to build nuclear weapons in the future, according to his speech.
The speech follows a political spat between Netanyahu, bolstered by the Republican leadership in Congress, and the Obama administration over the issue.
In this year’s State of the Union Address, President Obama said he would veto any new sanctions on Iran, as they could prevent a deal from being reached before the Tuesday, March 31 deadline. The administration insists that the deal being negotiated would prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons.
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) rebuffed the negotiations and invited Netanyahu to speak last month without consulting Obama, according to the Huffington Post.
Netanyahu’s divergence of opinion with the administration has seemingly injected the American-Israeli relationship with domestic, partisan politics. According to CNN, 50 Democratic House members and eight senators did not attend the speech, as they found it “an affront to the president.”
Despite the politicization of his appearance, Netanyahu maintained that such a stir was never his motive. The day before at an AIPAC Policy Conference, Netanyahu said, “Israel has always been a bipartisan issue.”
Netanyahu warned of the threat posed to Israel, the region and the world by the marriage of nuclear weapons to the radical ideology of Iran’s regime. He described Iran’s revolutionary founders as zealots, whose aim is to export jihad and revolution. Iranian support for terrorist and revolutionary groups extends the country’s influence while destabilizing the region.
“Iran’s goons in Gaza, its lackeys in Lebanon, its revolutionary guards on the Golan Heights are clutching Israel with three tentacles of terror,” Netanyahu said.
Iran supports the Assad regime in Syria and the Houthi rebels that recently toppled the Yemeni government, according to the Washington Post.
If the regime were to possess nuclear weapons, Netanyahu likened the scenario to another World War II for the Jewish people and the world.
Netanyahu said that the current deal would only delay the inevitable, paving the way for Iran to suddenly “break out” and sprint for enough enriched uranium to produce bombs in a short time.
Instead of reaching the “bad deal,” as he called it, Netanyahu would demand that all restrictions placed on Iran’s nuclear program and economy remain in place until Iran reverses it’s behavior. He insisted that Iran must stop its aggression against its neighbors, supporting terrorism and threatening Israel.
To ramp up pressure on the regime, especially in a time of lower prices for Iranian gas, increased aggression should be responded with increased sanctions.
Following Netanyahu’s speech, Obama was unmoved.
“The Prime Minister didn’t offer any viable alternatives (to the current negotiations),” Obama said.
With no deal, Obama said Iran would continue to develop a weapon without the ability of the U.S. to oversee its actions.