Netanyahu Says Feels Obligated to Fight Iran Nuclear Deal in Congress

U.S. Congress receives Vienna accord for review; Kerry defends nuclear agreement, says likely alternative is war.

Reuters

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said the United States cannot compensate Israel for the nuclear deal with Iran and said that he intends to fight it in Congress.

The U.S. State Department formally submitted the nuclear agreement reached between world powers and Iran in Vienna last week to Congress, including annexes and related materials. The 60-day period for U.S. lawmakers to review the deal will begin on Monday.

In an interview on CBS, Netanyahu said that world powers have negotiated a very bad agreement, while Iran received a "dream deal."

"This deal is the biggest security problem that we face," he said.

Netanyahu referred to the rift between Israel and the U.S. concerning the deal as a "respectful disagreement among friends" and said Israel wasn't the only country which opposes the deal.

"People say everybody agree with this deal except for Israel. This is not true," he said. "First of all, everyone in Israel is united against this deal – opposition and coalition alike. Many in the region speak to me and tell me how they are worried that this deal will endanger their security in many ways."

Netanyahu said he intends to convey his opposition to the nuclear deal to U.S. lawmakers. "I feel it's my obligation as the prime minister of Israel to speak out against something that endangers the survival of my country," he said on CBS. "I obviously make my case. I think that's important and it's not only important for us, I think it's important for the entire world."

In an interview on ABC Netanyahu said he intends to urge U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter in their meeting Monday not to go forward with the deal. "Don't make this bad deal. Hold out for a better deal," he said.



Netanyahu rejected the idea that Israel could be somehow compensated following the nuclear agreement with Iran. "How can you compensate a country, my country, against a terrorist regime that is sworn to our destruction and is going to get a path to nuclear bombs and billions of dollars," he asked, adding that no one would be speaking about a need to compensate Israel if the deal was good.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who spoke on CBS before Netanyahu, defended the deal with Iran. The United States and Iran, he said, did not become allies following the nuclear accord. "We are still adversaries, we are not friends or allies by any means," he said.

Kerry said that the U.S. intelligence community and American nuclear experts believe that Iran will not be able to conceal or get rid of nuclear materials in the agreed upon 24-day timeframe, after which it must allow UN nuclear inspectors access to suspected sites.

In another interview on Sunday, on Fox News, the secretary of state said that world powers "have ended Iran's ability to get a nuclear weapon."

Kerry stressed that the U.S. will continue to impose sanctions on Iran when it comes to the Islamic Republic's involvement in terrorism and destabilizing efforts in the region.

Israel and the region will be safer with the nuclear deal in place, he noted, warning that if Congress prevents the agreement from being implemented, "there will be no restraints on Iran, there will be no sanctions left, our friends in this effort will desert us and we will be viewed as having killed the opportunity of stopping them from having a (nuclear) weapon and they will start to enrich again, and the greater likelihood is that we will have a war."

Earlier, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continued to attack the nuclear deal, saying that Iran deserved no concessions until it changed its policy and ceased its calls for the destruction of the United States and Israel. He told the ministers at the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem that Iran was not even trying to hide that it is planning to use the funds that it would receive after the economic sanctions were lifted to arm militant groups.