Bad Iran deal paves way to bomb, Netanyahu tells Congress


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received a standing ovation as he closed his speech at the US Congress today.

Mr Netanyahu warned about the nuclear threat posed by the Iranian regime and urged world leaders to maintain sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

He also spoke of the “remarkable alliance” between America and Israel, adding that “we share a common destiny”.

Mr Netanyahu’s speech – which was not broadcast in Israel – has been the source of considerable tension between the White House and Jerusalem.

Some commentators accused Mr Netanyahu of using the address to promote his political agenda two weeks before Israel’s general election on March 17.

The Israeli Prime Minister said: “My friends, I’m deeply humbled by the opportunity to speak for a third time before the most important legislative body in the world – the US Congress.

“I know that my speech has been the subject of much controversy.”

Mr Netanyahu said he never intended the speech to be political.

The Israeli leader praised the absent President Barack Obama.

He said: “We appreciate all that President Obama has done for Israel. Some of that is widely known, like strengthening security cooperation – opposing anti-Israel resolutions at the UN.

“Some of what the President has done for Israel is well less known… Some of what the president has done for Israel might never be known.

“I will always be grateful to president Obama for that support.”

Mr Netanyahu said his purpose in delivering the speech was to speak on an “issue that could well threaten the future of my people – Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons…

“Iran’s supreme leader spews the oldest hatred of antisemitism with the newest technology.

“He tweets that Israel must be annihilated.”

“Iran’s regime poses a great threat not only to Israel – but to the peace of the entire world.

“We must fully understand the nature of the regime.”

He accused Iran – which he described as having been “hijacked by religious zealots” – of funding terrorist organisations in the Middle East.

Mr Netanyahu, of the Likud party, said a deal over Iran’s nuclear weapons programme would add to the threat.

“This deal won’t change Iran for the better, it will only change the Middle East for the worse,” he said.

He said a deal should only be considered on three conditions: Iran should “stop its aggression against its neighbours in the Middle East; stop supporting terrorism around the world; and stop threatening to annihilate my country, Israel, the one and only Jewish state.”

He added: “If Iran wants to be treated like a normal country, let it act like a normal country…

“If Iran threatens to walk away from the table, call their bluff. They need the deal more than you do…

“This is a bad deal, it’s a very bad deal. We’re better off without it.”

He spoke directly to Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, who stood up to a round of applause. “I wish I could promise you Elie, that the lessons of history have been learned… I can only urge leaders of the world not to repeat the mistakes of the past.”

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