Israel's Netanyahu Tells Congress Nuclear Deal With Iran Will Leave Jewish State in Great Danger; Nancy Pelosi 'Near Tears' at 'Insult'

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) acknowledges applause at the end of his speech to a joint meeting of Congress in the House Chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 3, 2015. U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner (C), R-Ohio, and President pro tempore of the U.S. Senate Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, applaud behind Netanyahu. |

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed Congress on Tuesday and warned that a nuclear deal with Iran would leave the Jewish state in great danger. House minority leader Nancy Pelosi said that the speech left her "near tears" and was an "insult to the intelligence of the United States."

"We have been told that no deal is better than a bad deal. Well, this is a bad deal. It is a very bad deal. We are better off without it," Netanyahu told the House of Representatives chamber, which CNN said generated "deafening cheers."

"We are being told that the only alternative to this bad deal is war. That is just not true. The alternative to this bad deal is a much better deal," Netanyahu added.

Negotiations for a nuclear deal between Iran and several nations, including the U.S., were rescheduled for 2015 after they were extended past the deadline in November. July 1 has been selected as the deadline for a final agreement, in which Iran is hoping to ease restrictions on its nuclear program.

Pelosi said that Netanyahu's suggestion that the U.S. doesn't understand the danger of a nuclear-armed Iran is an "insult to the intelligence of the United States."

In a statement, the Democratic leader said that the "unbreakable bonds between the United States and Israel are rooted in our shared values, our common ideals and mutual interests."

She said that that is why she was "near tears" at Netanyahu's speech, and was "saddened by the insult to the intelligence of the United States as part of the P5 +1 nations, and saddened by the condescension toward our knowledge of the threat posed by Iran and our broader commitment to preventing nuclear proliferation.

The statement continued: "Today, Prime Minister Netanyahu reiterated something we all agree upon: a nuclear armed Iran is unacceptable to both our countries. We have all said that a bad deal is worse than no deal, and stopping the spread of nuclear weapons is the bedrock of our foreign policy and national security. As President [Barack] Obama has said consistently, all options are on the table for preventing a nuclear-armed Iran."

Obama — whose former campaign strategist Jeremy Bird is working against Netahyahu in the campaign called Victory 2015 or "V15," aided by financing given to the group OneVoice, which is funded by the U.S. State Department — said he's not meeting with Netanyahu while he's in the U.S. because the latter is facing national elections in two weeks time, and added that the Israeli prime minister's comments were "nothing new."

"The alternative that the prime minister offers is 'no deal,' in which case Iran will immediately begin once again pursuing its nuclear programme, accelerate its nuclear programme without us having any insight into what they are doing and without constraint," the American president said.

In his speech, Netanyahu also warned against he danger of "the marriage of militant Islam with nuclear weapons."

He added: "That is exactly what could happen if the deal being negotiated is accepted by Iran. That deal would not prevent Iran developing nuclear weapons. It would all but guarantee that Iran gets those weapons, lots of them."

While a number of Democrats had issues with Netanyahu's address, some Republicans, such as former Florida governor Jeb Bush, called the speech "powerful."

"Glad he addressed Congress and detailed the dangers a nuclear Iran poses. Their nuclear program must be stopped," Bush said.

Before Netanyahu's visit to Congress, Bush had said he was "eager" to hear what the Israeli Prime Minister had to say.

"I don't blame him for wanting to share his views and in fact, I think it will be important for the American people to get the perspective of our closest ally in the region," the former Florida governor remarked.

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