News & Politics

Netanyahu Has Some Choice Words for Biden on His Way Out the Door

Debbie Hill, Pool via AP

On Sunday, outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasted Joe Biden and his approach to Iran in his final address to parliament, revealing that the Biden administration wanted him to keep their foreign policy disagreements “behind closed doors,” but that he would no longer do so.

“The new U.S. administration requested that I save our disagreements on the Iran nuclear deal for behind closed doors, and not share them publicly,” Netanyahu said. “I told them I won’t act that way.”

He compared the Biden administration’s efforts to reenter the Iran nuclear deal to Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s decision not to bomb the train tracks to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland in 1944.

“We waited for salvation from others, and it didn’t come. Against the threat of annihilation, we had no savior… we didn’t have a country then and we didn’t have an army. But today we have a voice, we have a country and we have a defending force.”

Related: Netanyahu Vows to Return to Power With ‘Dangerous’ New Israeli Government Poised to Take Control

The United States entered the Iran nuclear deal against the warnings of Netanyahu when Barack Obama unilaterally signed the treaty without Senate ratification. “The prime minister of Israel needs to be able to say no to the president of the United States on issues that threaten our existence,” Netanyahu said, in reference to his 2015 speech before a joint session of Congress in which he spoke against the Iran nuclear deal. His speech was boycotted by some Democrats and given without Obama’s support.

Iran refused to abide by the terms of the nuclear deal. Three months after the deal was signed, Iran launched a ballistic missile test, in violation of the terms of the agreement. Nearly a year after the deal was signed, Obama conceded that Iran was already violating the “spirit” of the deal. By the spring of 2016, Iran had officially violated the terms of the nuclear deal, as well as U.N. resolutions, three times. By July, German intelligence believed that Iran was attempting to acquire technology that could be used for its military nuclear program, again, in violation of the deal. In November 2016, the UN’s atomic watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), reported that Iran had, for the second time, exceeded a soft limit on sensitive material under the nuclear deal.

All of this happened while Joe Biden was vice president.

Violations of the deal continued under Trump. Iran refused to allow nuclear inspections of military sites, which they were required to do. In December of 2017, then-UN Ambassador Nikki Haley presented evidence that Iran was violating the nuclear deal by exporting missiles and other lethal weapons to rebels in Yemen. This past September, Iran admitted it was using “arrays of advanced centrifuges prohibited by its 2015 nuclear deal and can enrich uranium ‘much more beyond’ current levels to weapons-grade material, taking a third step away from the accord…”

Despite Iran’s repeated violations of the deal, reentering the Iran nuclear deal was a longstanding campaign promise of Joe Biden. Donald Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018, calling it “defective at its core.”