As the Obama administration progresses towards a dangerous deal with Iran, a bipartisan delegation of US senators came to Jerusalem in a show of support for Netanyahu.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Sunday with a delegation of US senators led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz, who recently returned from Europe, where he was on a diplomatic mission regarding the nuclear negotiations with Iran, attended the meeting.
Referring to the latest developments in the Middle East, the Israeli leader expressed concern for the two nations’ common interests in the region. “As we are speaking, Iran is rampaging through Yemen; it is conquering the Middle East. This is correctly seen by all the countries in the Middle East as a strategic move to dominate the region,” Netanyahu warned, calling the situation “unprecedented.”
While Israel and the Arab countries witness Iran’s aggression in the region, “talks continue as usual and go on, on a deal that from everything we hear paves Iran’s way to the bomb,” he added.
Netanyahu said earlier on Sunday at the weekly cabinet meeting that the emerging deal with Iran appears to be even worse than expected.
“Will this increase or decrease Iran’s aggression? Will this make their move forward more moderate or will it make it more extreme? I think it’s a no-brainer. But this is happening before our eyes, and I think the most important thing is to make sure that Iran doesn’t get a path to the bomb and that Iran’s aggression in Yemen and elsewhere, including around Israel’s borders, is stopped,” he stated.
Addressing McConnell and his delegation, the Israeli prime minister said, “We have a strong bipartisan base of support for alliance. I spoke the other day with [Sen.] Harry Reid, congratulated him on his years of service and also his years of support for the Israeli-American alliance. This is something that I think cuts across the aisle in the United States. And I believe we’ll continue to do so.”
Speaking on behalf of the visiting dignitaries, McConnell began his remarks by saying that they were “all extraordinarily impressed” with Netanyahu’s address to the joint session [of Congress] a few weeks ago.
“I want to assure all Israelis that the US-Israel relationship is still, no matter what’s been said recently, in very, very strong shape on a bipartisan basis in the US Congress,” the senator stressed, adding that Congress shared Israel’s concerns about an emerging agreement between Iran and the P5+1 powers regarding its nuclear program.
“There are options that the United States has in a wake of an agreement and if there is no agreement. The option if there’s an agreement is a bill that we intend to vote on that enjoys bipartisan support to require that agreement come to Congress for approval,” McConnell said, relating to a bill of sanctions that President Barack Obama had threatened to veto if introduced.
“If there’s no deal, then the view of this group, similar to your own, is that ratcheting up sanctions might be the best direction to take in the wake of a deal that does not come together,” he told Netanyahu.
McConnell and the delegation met later with Minister of Defense Moshe Ya’alon.