Netanyahu Speech Reaction

Today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed a joint session of Congress about the threat posed by Iran and what he believes are the failings of the ongoing negotiations over its nuclear weapons program.

“For more than a year, we’ve been told that no deal is better than a bad deal. Well, this is a bad deal. It’s a very bad deal. We’re better off without it,” he said.

Netanyahu said that without a “dramatic change,” the current negotiations will result in a deal that would let Iran keep most of its nuclear program, while relying too heavily on inspectors who, he said, have been tricked before.

More than 50 House Democrats skipped the speech, in part to protest Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) decision to invite Netanyahu without first notifying the White House. Democrats were also upset that the address was scheduled close to the Israeli elections. Reaction to the speech largely broke down along party lines as was expected given the brewing animosity between the parties leading up to today.

While he did not watch the speech, President Barack Obama said he read the transcript, but was not convinced by Netanyahu’s argument and criticized him for not offering a counterargument.

“So we’re staying focused on the central issue here:  How do we prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.  The path that we’ve proposed, if successful, by far is the best way to do that.  That’s demonstrable.  And Prime Minister Netanyahu has not offered any kind of viable alternative that would achieve the same verifiable mechanism to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon,” said Obama.

Outside of Washington, DC, CNN went to the streets of Tehran to interview Iranians about the Israeli leader’s address.

Evan Moore of the Foreign Policy Initiative looks forward and breaks down the nuclear deal, what options lie ahead, and whether it would be better to have a bad deal or no deal at all.

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