Netanyahu’s controversial Congress speech on Iran due later Tuesday

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu faces a joint session of the US Congress Tuesday at 6 p.m. IST to dramatize his fight against an emerging deal which he warns will lead eventually to a nuclear-armed Iran. His speech faces a barrage of criticism from President Barack Obama, his aides and his political opponents at home. About one-fifth of Democratic members will be absent. But he won cheers from a large AIPAC audience earlier when he said, “Israel now has a voice and I will use it!”

In a Reuters interview Monday night, Obama said the US and Israel agreed Iran must not acquire nuclear weapons, but differed on how to achieve this goal. Any deal he would agree to, Obama said, would require Iran to freeze its nuclear program at least a decade. The US goal is to make sure "there's at least a year between us seeing them try to get a nuclear weapon and them actually being able to obtain one," he said. A key doubt was whether Iran would agree to rigorous inspection demands and the low levels of uranium enrichment capability they would have to maintain.

His national security adviser Susan Rice, who addressed AIPAC after Netanyahu, insisted that his demand to strip Iran of the ability to enrich uranium was would be “desirable but neither realistic nor achievable,” adding that President Obama had left all his options on the table for preventing a nuclear-armed Iran.
After the speech to Congress, the prime minister will meet Senators Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid in a group of bipartisan senators.

 

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