Netanyahu: my idea 'was practical' to Iran deal

Netanyahu returns to Israel after visit to United States with his speech congress draws strong criticism.

Netanyahu: my idea 'was practical' to Iran deal

World Bulletin / News Desk

 Pushing back against criticism from President Barack Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday he had presented a "practical alternative" for an international nuclear agreement being negotiated with Iran.

Upon landing in Israel after addressing the U.S. Congress on Tuesday, in a speech which Obama said the Israeli leader had offered "no viable alternatives" to a deal being worked out with Iran, Netanyahu voiced satisfaction that he had made his own message heard around the world.

"I proposed a practical alternative at my speech in Congress, one that on the one hand prolongs by years the time it would take Iran to break out to a nuclear weapon, if it decides to breach the agreement, by imposing tougher sanctions."

"(It) also proposes not to automatically lift sanctions on Iran, until it stops spreading terrorism in the world, its aggression against its neighbours and its threats to annihilate Israel," Netanyahu said in a written statement.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iran's Mohammad Javad Zarif began a third day of talks on Wednesday in the Swiss town of Montreux, hoping to work out a framework deal by late March.

But Netanyahu's harsh criticism of the way the U.S. was handling negotiations with Iran could make it harder for the Obama administration to sell the potential agreement back home.

Netanyahu came under strong criticism from the U.S. administration and inside Israel for his Congress speech, which Washington said had injected destructive partisanship into U.S.-Israeli ties.

Republicans, who control Congress, had invited Netanyahu to speak without consulting Obama or other leading Democrats. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi called the speech "an insult to the intelligence of the United States" and said she was so "saddened by the condescension toward our knowledge of the threat posed by Iran" that she was near tears.

As many as 60 of the 232 Democratic members of Congress sat out the address.

In Israel, critics said the speech harmed Israel's strategic alliance with the United States and was aimed at drawing more voters for Netanyahu ahead of closely contested election on March 17.

"Israel is a strong country, an ally of the United States, or at least it was until Netanyahu decided to ruin that for his political needs," Tzipi Livni, who heads the centrist Zionist Union party running against Netanyahu's right-wing Likud, told Israel Radio.

"We need to fix the relationship," she said. 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 04 Mart 2015, 13:05