WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in his address to Congress that there would be a nuclear arms race in the Middle East if a deal is signed with Iran.
“We must all stand together to stop Iran’s march of conquest, subjugation, and terror,” Netanyahu said to applause.
In a speech that dozens of Democrats skipped, the Israeli leader warned that a nuclear deal “paves Iran’s path to the bomb.”
“So you see my friends, this deal has two major concessions: one leaving Iran with a vast nuclear progam, and two, lifiting the restrictions on that program in about a decade,” Netanyahu said. “That’s why this deal is so bad. It doesn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb, it paves Iran’s path to the bomb.”
The Israeli prime minister touched on the major concessions he believes will happen in a nuclear deal with Iran.
“Absent to dramatic change, we know for sure that any deal with Iran will include two major concessions to Iran: the first major concession would leave Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure, providing it with a short breakout time to the bomb. Breakout time is the time it takes to amass enough weapons grade uranium or plutonium for a nuclear bomb,” Netanyahu said. According to the deal, not a single nuclear facility would be demolished. Thousands of centrifuges used to enrich uranium would be left spinning. Thousands more would be temporarily disconnected but not destroyed. Because Iran’s nuclear program would be left largly intact, Iran’s breakout time would be very short — about a year by America’s assessment, even shorter by Israel.”
Calling it a “very bad deal,” Netanyahu said that Iran will always be an enemy to the U.S.
“The ideology of Iran’s revolutionary regime is deeply rooted in militant Islam, and that’s why this regime will always be an enemy of America. And don’t be fooled, the battle between Iran an ISIS doesn’t turn Iran into a friend of America,” he said. “Iran and ISIS are competing for the crown of militant Islam. One calls itself the Islamic Republic, the other calls itself the Islamic State, both want to impose a militant Islamic empire — first on the region and then on the entire world.”
Netanyahu believes the deal could lead to a “potential nuclear nightmare.”
“If anyone thinks this deal kicks the can down the road, think again. When we get down that road we’ll face a much more dangerous Iran, a MIddle East littered with nuclear bombs, and a countdown to a potential nuclear nightmare,” he said.
Netanyahu also touched on Iran defying United Nations inspectors.
“I know this won’t come as a shock to many of you, but Iran not only defies inspectors, but it also plays a pretty good game of ‘hide and cheat’ with them,” he said.
Netanyahu said that Israel is no longer passive in the face of threats to its country and people.
“I can guarantee you this: The days when the Jewish people remain passive in the face of genocidal enemies, those days are over,” he told lawmakers. “We are no longer scattered among the nations powerless to defend ourselves, we restored our sovereignty in our ancient home. And the soldiers who defend ourselves have boundless courage. For the first time in a hundred generations, we the Jewish people can defend ourselves.
“Even if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand.”
Netanyahu added that Iran’s founding document calls for the “pursuit of jihad.”
During his speech, Netanyahu stated that he deeply regretted that some perceived him being in Washington as political.
“We appreciate all that President Obama has done for Israel,” Netanyahu said. “I will always be grateful to President Obama for that support.”
Netanyahu thanked Congress for their support to build Israel’s “Iron Dome.”
“This Capitol dome helped build our ‘Iron Dome,’” Netanyahu said. “Thank you, America. Thank you for everything you’ve done for Israel.”
A senior administration official told CNN that Netanyahu’s address was “all rhetoric.”
“Literally, not one new idea,” the official told CNN. “Not one single concrete alternative. All rhetoric, no action.”
Fox News reports that Netanyahu’s speech was interrupted by applause nearly 40 times.
Netanyahu spoke shortly after Secretary of State John Kerry met for more than two hours in Switzerland with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in hopes of completing an international framework agreement later this month to curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.
The Israeli leader’s appeal came two weeks before elections in which he is seeking a new term – and after the invitation to address Congress extended by House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, triggered a political furor in the United States. More than four dozen House and Senate Democrats said in advance they would not attend the event, a highly unusual move given historically close ties between the two allies.
The White House expressed its displeasure with the appearance by word and deed, dispatching Vice President Joe Biden on an overseas trip that meant he did not fill his customary seat behind the House rostrum during the speech. Nor did Netanyahu meet at the White House with Obama on his trip to the United States.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel was among those in attendance for Netanyahu’s speech.
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