Israel’s Netanyahu Urges Congress to Block ‘Bad Deal’ With Iran

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Speech comes amid rising tensions surrounding U.S.-led talks with Tehran over its nuclear program.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a highly anticipated speech to Congress, said an emerging diplomatic agreement with Iran would ensure that Tehran eventually acquires a nuclear weapon.

“That deal would not prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, it would guarantee it—lots of them,” Mr. Netanyahu said. “This is a bad deal. It’s a very bad deal. We’re better off without it.”

Reacting to the prime minister’s speech, a senior administration official complained that he offered no alternative to the present course of the talks. “Where is the alternative? Simply demanding that Iran completely capitulate is not a plan, nor would any country support us in that position,” the official said. “The prime minister offered no concrete action plan.”

Mr. Netanyahu, drawing frequent applause in the packed House chamber, directly challenged President Barack Obama ’s argument that a diplomatic accord allowing Tehran to retain some nuclear capabilities would be more effective than additional sanctions or military action. He said any agreement that stops short of completely dismantling Tehran’s nuclear program would be ineffective.

He also called on the U.S. to use the nuclear talks as leverage for forcing Iran to change its behavior, such as including provisions that the Iranian regime would stop supporting terrorism and threatening Israel.

Such a move would expand the scope of the international nuclear talks, which Obama administration officials have said repeatedly aren’t aimed at a broader rapprochement with Iran.

“Iran has proven time and again that it cannot be trusted,” Mr. Netanyahu said.

Negotiators in U.S.-led talks with Iran are working toward a breakthrough by the end of March. Iran has said its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

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