Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the US Congress Tuesday that an international deal on Iran’s nuclear programme could threaten the survival of his country.
Dozens of Democrats chose to boycott the speech after Speaker of the House John Boehner, the top Republican in the lower chamber, invited Netanyahu to speak without consulting the White House. It was Netanyahu’s third address to US lawmakers.
Obama will not meet with Netanyahu while the premier is in Washington, with the White House noting the visit’s proximity to Israeli elections later this month.
Netanyahu said Monday that the address was not meant as a sign of disrespect to Obama, but rather intended to “speak up about a potential deal with Iran that could threaten the survival of Israel.”
Iran is negotiating a deal with Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany to curb Tehran’s uranium enrichment and other parts of its nuclear programme in return for ending economic sanctions on Tehran.
Iran and the six powers aim to work out the main points of the deal by the end of the month, but they still disagree over how much and for how long Iran has to scale back its nuclear activities, and how fast the economic sanctions can be lifted.