Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the rounds on the Sunday news shows to argue that the framework nuclear agreement reached between the P5+1 and Iran will turn out even worse than the failure to rein in North Korea’s nuclear program.
“The entire world celebrated the deal with North Korea. It deemed to be a great breakthrough, it would bring an end to North Korea’s nuclear program, you’d have inspectors. That would do the job. And of course everybody applauded it, but it turned out to be a very, very bad deal and you know where we are with North Korea. I think the same thing would be true in the case of Iran, except that Iran is a great deal more dangerous than North Korea,” Netanyahu told NBC.
Iran, he stressed, is “a militant Islamic power bent on regional domination, in fact, bent on world domination, as it openly says so.”
“They just chanted ‘Death to America’ a few days ago on the streets of Tehran, the same streets where they’re rejoicing right now,” Netanyahu said. “Don’t give the preeminent terrorist state of our time the access to a nuclear program that could help them make nuclear weapons. It’s very bad for all of us.”
The prime minister stressed on ABC that the billions to be quickly unlocked by the lifting of sanctions will be used “to pump up their terror machine worldwide and their military machine that is busy conquering the Middle East now.”
“It’s not even been on the table, nor have ICBMs, intercontinental ballistic missiles, that they can use to propel their nuclear weapons to any part of the world, including the United States,” Netanyahu said. “Nothing has been asked of Iran, to change its aggressive and terrorist policies, nothing. And I think it’s important to change the deal, to toughen up the deal, to get a better deal, because we all prefer to find a solution but it has to be the right one.”
Pressed about whether he’d launch airstrikes at the Islamic Republic to take out their nuclear program, he said, “I never talk about our military option or anyone else’s.”
“Once they’re at the table, why let up on those sanctions? In fact, that’s the time to increase the pressure and to get tomorrow what you can’t get today.”
On CNN, Netanyahu called “standing firm, ratcheting up the pressure, until you get a better deal” the “third alternative.”
“And a better deal would roll back Iran’s vast nuclear infrastructure and require Iran to stop its aggression in the region, its terror worldwide, and its calls and actions to annihilate the state of Israel,” he stressed. “That’s a better deal. It’s achievable.”
Regarding the absence of ICBMs from the deal, the prime minister noted, “Those missiles are only used for you. They’re not used for us. They have missiles that can reach us and are geared for nuclear weapons.”
“I wouldn’t bet the shop on inspections, because totalitarian regimes have a way of cheating,” he said. “Iran has cheated in the past. North Korea — they said the same arguments about North Korea. It will make them peaceful, it will make them moderate, it will make them abandon their program. And the opposite has happened.”
Netanyahu said he’s talked to “about two-thirds” of the House and an equal proportion of the Senate about derailing the deal. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) visited last week with a delegation.
“This is not a partisan issue. This is not even solely an Israeli issue,” he said. “This is a world issue, because everyone is going to be threatened by the preeminent terrorist state of our time, getting, keeping the infrastructure to produce not one nuclear bomb, but many, many nuclear bombs down the line. That’s a palpable danger to the peace of the world. And I think it should concern everybody, Republicans, Democrats, independents, I don’t care, and the citizens who want a peaceful world from every nation.”
“And I don’t think this is a personal issue, not between me and the president, or the president and me. We have — we had a respectful hour-long conversation the other day, as befits two allies, two democracies. And Israel views the United States as its great ally. And I think America has no greater ally in the world than Israel. But we do have a difference – it’s a difference of policy, not a clash of personalities.”
Asked if he trusts President Obama: “I trust that the president is doing what he thinks is good for the United States. But I think that we can have a legitimate difference of opinion on this, because I think Iran has shown to be completely distrustful. It’s not a country that you can place your trust in. And it’s not a country that you’re going to resolve its congenital cheating.”