Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faced a daunting task at his address to Congress this week: convincing a friendly America, but a hostile administration, not to let Iran acquire an atomic bomb that could undermine the West and destroy Israel. His speech to Congress was so effective not only because of his characteristically superb presentation, but because he -- contrary to claims by critics -- presented concrete suggestions for a better deal.
Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the U.S. Congress that the problem with the proposed deal with Iran is that it "paves Iran's path to the bomb."
"So you see, my friends, this deal has two major concessions. One, leaving Iran with a vast nuclear program, and, two, lifting the restrictions on that program in about a decade. That's why this deal is so bad," said Netanyahu.
Susan Rice told AIPAC It was "neither realistic nor achievable" to expect Iran to stop enriching uranium:
"We cannot let a totally unachievable ideal stand in the way of a good deal. I know that some of you will be urging Congress to insist that Iran forgo its domestic enrichment capacity entirely," Rice told AIPAC, as the crowd broke in to chear.
"But, but, but as desirable as that would be, it is neither realistic nor achievable."
Secretary of State John Kerry contradicted National Security Adviser Susan Rice by saying that Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is "welcome to speak in the United States" and by saying that the U.S.-Israel relationship is at an historic high. Kerry made the comments this morning on ABC:
Amid reports that a nuclear deal with Iran may freeze that country's ability to produce nuclear fuel for only ten years in exchange for sanctions relief, President Obama appeared to soften his words on the Iran negotiations if not his position.
House speaker John Boehner has invited Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress on February 11. The invitation is meant to be a repudiation of President Obama's Iran policy, according to a draft Boehner's prepared remarks this morning to the House Republican conference.
Foreign Policy reports that the U.S. believes Iran is cheating on U.N. nuclear sanctions. "The United States has privately accused Iran of going on an international shopping spree to acquire components for a heavy-water reactor that American officials have long feared could be used in the production of nuclear weapons-grade plutonium," reports Colum Lynch.