Netanyahu blasts Obama’s Iran nuclear deal
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took his protest of the Iran nuclear agreement to the U.S. airwaves on Sunday. “This deal will both threaten us and threaten our neighbors,” Netanyahu said on CNN’s State of the Union. The Israeli leader spoke days after the U.S., allies, and Iran reached the framework of an agreement in which the allies would reduce sanctions on Iran if it gives up the means to make nuclear weapons.
The parties will now try to work out the details of a final agreement, with a deadline of June 30. President Obama and aides said diplomacy is the only alternative to military action against Iran’s nuclear program. In his weekend radio address, Obama said the agreement would deny Iran the plutonium and enriched uranium needed to build a nuclear weapon. “Moreover,” he said, “international inspectors will have unprecedented access to Iran’s nuclear program because Iran will face more inspections than any other country in the world, If Iran cheats, the world will know it.”
In his television appearances, Netanyahu said the United States and its allies should intensify economic sanctions on Iran in order to force it to give up more of its nuclear program. He also questioned the effectiveness of inspections, saying Iran has cheated in the past. Netanyahu also said the framework will lift sanctions on Iran too quickly, improving its economy. He told ABC that Iranian leaders will use the new money “to pump up their terror machine worldwide.”
Republican members of Congress have expressed similar skepticism. Iran, meanwhile, says its nuclear program is designed for peaceful energy purposes, not weapons. In his radio address, Obama said he is looking forward to the debate with critics over Iran. “As President and Commander in Chief, I firmly believe that the diplomatic option — a comprehensive, long-term deal like this — is by far the best option,” Obama said. “For the United States. For our allies. And for the world.”