Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the United States on Sunday against entering into a new nuclear deal with Iran.
What is the background?
The Biden administration joined negotiations last year to re-establish the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the "Iran nuclear deal," after then-President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the accord in 2018.
Two weeks ago, the State Department said a new deal was imminent. However, Russia's invasion of Ukraine has complicated the negotiation process, and now the deal could fall through. Russia has been a lead negotiator on the new deal.
What did Netanyahu say?
As Israel's top leader at the time, Netanyahu vehemently opposed the Iran nuclear deal when it was first negotiated under the Obama administration. Iran, after all, refuses to recognize Israel's sovereignty and funds terrorist groups that attack Israel.
In a video published Sunday — the same day Iranian missiles struck an area around a U.S. consulate in northern Iraq — Netanyahu explained why the forthcoming deal is "downright dangerous."
"The desperate rush to sign this flawed nuclear agreement with Iran is not only absurd — it's downright dangerous," Netanyahu said.
"Yesterday, Iran fired missiles in the vicinity of the American consulate in Iraq, and the U.S. continues to charge ahead along with the other powers to sign a nuclear agreement that will give the Ayatollahs a nuclear arsenal," Netanyahu continued. "It would also relieve sanctions and give them hundreds of billions of dollars in order to continue the terror that they waged yesterday and wage every day throughout the Middle East and the world."
Netanyahu, a staunch supporter of the U.S., said the new deal negotiated under Biden "is even worse than its predecessor because in three years' time, under this agreement, Iran will be a threshold nuclear state. It will have enough enriched uranium to create dozens and dozens of nuclear bombs and it will have the ICBMs to deliver them to any place in the United States," he warned.
"That is ... unbelievable. It's not merely unacceptable, it endangers not only my country, Israel, but your country, the United States, and the entire world," Netanyahu continued. "We should not let an aggressive, rogue, terrorist regime like Iran have nuclear weapons."
"Have we learned nothing?" he asked.
Despite Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia's lead negotiator on the revived JCPOA, boasting that Moscow, Beijing, and Tehran essentially took the U.S. to the cleaners, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman reiterated Sunday that moving forward with the Iran nuclear deal is the best way to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.