Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referenced his upcoming address to a joint session of Congress in remarks at today’s cabinet meeting, stating that he has a duty without borders to keep Iran from going nuclear.
“In the coming weeks, the major powers are liable to reach a framework agreement with Iran, an agreement that is liable to leave Iran as a nuclear threshold state, which would endanger – first and foremost – the existence of the State of Israel,” Netanyahu said at the outset of the meeting. “This is the same Iran that has taken over Lebanon and Syria and is now taking over Yemen and Iraq. This is the same Iran that is preparing an active front against us both on the Golan Heights and in southern Lebanon. This same Iran cannot advance toward nuclear weapons.”
Iran’s Press TV reported Saturday that a Revolutionary Guard commander threatened to open a new front against Israel across the West Bank.
“We will certainly consider a special retaliation for this issue,” IRGC’s second-in-command, Brigadier General Hossein Salami, told al-Alam of the recent strike that killed six Hezbollah members and an Iranian general in the Golan Heights. “This is part of a new reality that will gradually unravel.”
“As Prime Minister of Israel, I am obligated to make every effort in order to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear weapons that would be aimed at the State of Israel,” Netanyahu continued. “This effort is worldwide and I will go anywhere I am invited in order to enunciate the State of Israel’s position and in order to defend its future and its existence.”
White House chief of staff Denis McDonough insisted on CNN this morning that the administration wouldn’t get into the “blame game” over the Netanyahu invitation, extended by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).
“This is the most important relationship we have in the world. This is something that ought to be and will continue to be, as far as we’re concerned, above partisan politics,” McDonough said. “This is a relationship, given its importance, that stretches across many different things, from values straight through intelligence cooperation to defense and security assistance.”
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told CBS the situation highlights “that relations have never been worse between ourselves and the only genuine democracy in the entire Middle East.”
“They believe, they are convinced that these negotiations with Iran will lead to Iranian acquisition of a nuclear weapon, which will then nuclearize the entire Middle East and that will be a direct threat to the existence of the state of Israel,” McCain said.
“I regret that the relations have deteriorated to this degree. But I do believe that it’s important that Prime Minister Netanyahu speak to the American people. And, by the way, we need congressional ratification of any agreement that is made. This is too big to be left — to not be treated as a treaty.”
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said at Friday’s briefing that the Iran pact is “an agreement” and “not a treaty,” thus doesn’t need congressional approval.
“We want to have a constructive working relationship with Congress, but you know, steps that undermine the talks or steps that put in place additional sanctions in this diplomatic negotiating period while talks are ongoing aren’t constructive and aren’t going to further our efforts to resolve what’s a pretty serious national security priority for the United States of America,” Earnest said.