Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) objected to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu coming to Congress to speak today, but she revealed after the address that she disagrees with the timeframe of the Obama administration’s plan.
Feinstein said Sunday that it was “arrogant” for Netanyahu to suggest he was speaking on behalf of worldwide Jewry, but was in one of the front seats for his address today. She even stood and applauded when some of her colleagues remained seated.
“I think it was a very powerful speech. I think it reinforced the very close Israeli-American relationship. And I think he clearly admitted that the United States has really done more for Israel than virtually any other country in terms of money over the tenure of Barack Obama, money for security, for Iron Dome, for financing of equipment, et cetera. It’s clear he doesn’t like what he thinks the deal is,” Feinstein told CNN.
“Now, I don’t know whether he knows or he doesn’t know. But what he didn’t say was what would happen if there was no deal or what would happen if the four European nations and China and Russia all agreed and the United States did not. And he didn’t make a suggestion as to what Israel would find agreeable. He simply said, there’s nothing that we agree with here. And then he made a number of pronouncements of terrible things that could happen.”
Feinstein did, however, agree with Netanyahu’s demands that a deal insist Iran stop aggression against his neighbors, stop supporting terrorism and “stop threatening to annihilate my country.”
“The question is, that if there is a deal and if Iran is willing to give up its nuclear pursuits, at least with exception of the peaceful on — peaceful pursuit and then have all of the fissile material moved out, that that would — might indicate a change. But there is no question as to what Iran has done. The game — the terrible games that have been played and it’s got to stop,” she said.
The ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee said she couldn’t comment on the breakout time for Iran to have a nuclear weapon, but she did comment on the administration’s intention to shoot for a 10-year deal with the Islamic Republic.
“One of the things that I’ve seen in my lifetime is time goes by very fast. And 10 years is not a long time. Fifteen or 20 years is a much better period of time in terms of changing behavior,” Feinstein said.
“My preference would be that it be a longer deal and that we’d be able to guarantee a longer period of breakout. But that’s just me. What he didn’t say is what would happen if there is no deal. What would Israel do? What would Israel expect the United States to do? What in many — much of his rhetoric suggested is that there’s a very real possible likelihood of Israel taking aggressive action.”
Netanyahu said “because Iran’s nuclear program would be left largely intact” under the deal, “Iran’s break-out time would be very short — about a year by U.S. assessment, even shorter by Israel’s.”
“A decade may seem like a long time in political life, but it’s the blink of an eye in the life of a nation. It’s a blink of an eye in the life of our children,” he said. “We all have a responsibility to consider what will happen when Iran’s nuclear capabilities are virtually unrestricted and all the sanctions will have been lifted. Iran would then be free to build a huge nuclear capacity that could product many, many nuclear bombs.”