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Netanyahu warns over Iranian deal
03 Mar 2015 20:08
US President Barack Obama said there was "nothing new" in Benjamin Netanyahu's controversial speech to Congress, insisting the Israeli Prime Minister did not offer a better alternative to negotiations.
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Netanyahu "did not offer any viable alternative," Obama said speaking from the Oval Office.
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"We don't yet have a deal. But if we are successful, this will be the best deal possible with Iran to prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon."
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Mr Netanyahu declared that a deal being negotiated between world powers and Iran would leave Tehran free to develop nuclear weapons.
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In an address to the US Congress, Mr Netanyahu branded Iran a global threat.
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"That deal will not prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons," he said.
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The comments place him in stark opposition to US President Barack Obama's policy of containing Iranian ambitions through a diplomatic accord.
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"It would all but guarantee that Iran gets those weapons, lots of them," Mr Netanyahu said.
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"Because Iran's nuclear programme would be left largely intact, Iran's breakout time would be very short."
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Around 50 Democratic members stayed away from the event, but many more politicians from both sides of the aisle did attend, and Mr Netanyahu was welcomed with a standing ovation.
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"I know that my speech has been the subject of much controversy. I deeply regret that some perceive my being here as political," he said.
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"That was never my intention. You want to thank you, Democrats and Republicans, for your common support for Israel year after year, decade after decade."
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"We appreciate all that President Obama has done for Israel," he insisted, citing the close security cooperation between the countries.
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