Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stepped up his criticism of the developing nuclear deal with Iran, and accused the six world powers – the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany – of "giving up on their commitment" to prevent the Islamic Republic from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
"The powers pledged to prevent Iran [from obtaining] a nuclear weapon," Netanyahu said a Likud political convention in Maale Adumim. "From the developing agreement it seems they have given up on that commitment, and have accepted the fact that Iran, gradually over several years, will develop the capabilities to make fissile material for many nuclear bombs. Maybe they can live with it, but I can't."
The Israeli premier also responded to criticism leveled by President Barack Obama's National Security Adviser Susan Rice, who said Netanyahu's Congress speech would be "destructive" to the relationship between Israel and the U.S. "I respect the White House and the president of the United States, but on such a critical topic that could determine whether we exist or not, it is my duty to do everything to prevent this great danger to the state of Israel," Netanyahu said.
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry also responded to Netanyahu's criticism. Speaking before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday, Kerry said that he understands Netanyahu's skepticism, but added that the Israeli prime minister held the same position before the signing of the interim agreement with Iran in November 2013 in Geneva. "He was opposed then, too, and he was wrong," Kerry said. The secretary of state added: "Netanyahu was outspoken in his support for the Iraq invasion, and we all know how that turned out."
"Israel is safer today than it was before the interim agreement," Kerry said, adding that the "breakout" time for Iran to obtain fissile material stood at two months – and now stands at a year's time.