Netanyahu: Iran deal ‘absolutely’ threatens Israel’s survival
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a trio of appearances on Sunday to press his case that international leaders should oppose the Iranian nuclear deal tentatively outlined last week, which he said would “absolutely” threaten the survival of his country.
Netanyahu called the preliminary bargain secured by Secretary of State John Kerry and other negotiators a “very bad deal,” and called on President Obama and other Western leaders to step up their demands on Iran to protect Israel and other countries in the region from the nuclear threat.
“I think this is a dream deal for Iran, and it’s a nightmare deal for the world,” Netanyahu said on NBC’s “Meet The Press.”
“They’re getting a free path to the bomb,” Netanyahu added on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
He dismissed the idea that the only alternative to the nuclear deal would be a full-fledged global war against Iran — a direct response to Obama’s remarks on Friday defending the outcome.
“I think the alternatives are not either this bad deal or war. I think there’s a third alternative. And that is standing firm, ratcheting up the pressure until you get a better deal,” he said as he made the rounds on Sunday morning talk shows.
Netanyahu did not specify what kind of deal he would support, though he said it must “require Iran to stop its aggression.”
“I think there’s still time to reach a good deal, a better deal,” Netanyahu told ABC’s “This Week.” “What is required is to hold firm.”
Netanyahu, who has long had a thorny relationship with Obama, denied that his problems with the accord resulted from his distrust of the president.
“I don’t think this is a personal issue,” Netanyahu told CNN, adding that he did not believe the issue should be divided along party lines. “I think it should concern everybody — Republicans, Democrats, I don’t care.”
Tensions between the Obama and Netanyahu has mounted over the last month, after the Israeli prime minister made a visit to Congress to personally tell U.S. lawmakers to stand strong against Iran in defiance of the White House.
But Netanyahu repeatedly avoided direct criticism of the president, deflecting questions about his level of trust in Obama.
“I think we have a legitimate difference of view,” he told “This Week.”
Under the current terms, the U.S. and European nations would lift sanctions on Iran in return for limitations on material and technology that could be used to make a nuclear weapon. International monitors would also closely watch Iran’s program.
But Netanyahu said inspectors would not be able to prevent a massive escalation of nuclear activities, which he says pose a global threat.
“It doesn’t roll back Iran’s nuclear program. It keeps its vast infrastructure in place,” he said. “That’s a very bad deal.”