Netanyahu Rebuts Obama: 'I Presented a Practical Alternative' to Administration's Iran Deal

Countering President Obama's assertion that he offered no alternative to Washington's plan for an Iran nuke deal, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after landing in Israel that there was indeed an alternative offered.

"After my short visit to the United States, I return to Israel knowing that many around the world heard what Israel has to say about the impending deal with Iran," Netanyahu said. "In my speech before the Congress, I presented a practical alternative, which would impose tougher restrictions on Iran's nuclear program, extending Iran's breakout time by years."

"I also called on the P5+1 to insist on a deal that would link the lifting of those restrictions to Iran's ceasing its sponsorship of terrorism around the world, its aggression against its neighbors and its calls for Israel's destruction," he continued. "I heard encouraging responses from both Democrats and Republicans. They understood that the current proposal would lead to a bad deal and that the alternative is a better deal. Happy Purim."

Obama, who didn't watch Netanyahu's speech but commented on it after reading a transcript, said “the prime minister didn’t offer any viable alternatives.”

Speaking from the nuclear talks in Switzerland today, Secretary of State John Kerry said they won't be "distracted by external factors or politics."

"Most importantly, as President Obama said yesterday, we know that no one has presented a more viable, lasting alternative for how you actually prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon," Kerry said. "So, folks, simply demanding that Iran capitulate is not a plan, and nor would any of our P5+1 partners support us in that position. And it’s very important to remember we have partners in this effort – France, Germany, Britain, China, Russia – all of whom have similar feelings about the importance of what must be done here."

Talks will resume on March 15, he added, "recognizing that time is of the essence, the days are ticking by, and important decisions need to be made."

Like Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes, Kerry advised worrying about Iran's terrorist activities after the deal.

"Now, for all the objections that any country has to Iranian activities in the region – and believe me, we have objections and others in the world have objections – the first step is to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon," Kerry said.