For Obama, Netanyahu "didn't offer any viable alternatives" to solving the Iranian nuclear problem
Washington (AsiaNews/Agencies) - US President Barack Obama said he found "nothing new" in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's address to Congress.
On "the core issue, which is how do we prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon [. . .], the prime minister didn't offer any viable alternatives," Obama said in response to the Israeli Prime Minister's argument that an agreement with Tehran paves the way for Iran to get the bomb.
The Israeli leader told Congress, "We have been told that no deal is better than a bad deal. Well this is a bad deal."
For him, Iran was not just bent on developing nuclear weapons but was determined to "gobble" up defenceless countries in a wider play for dominance in the Middle East.
"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 said.
Cheered by Congress, minus scores of Democrats and some Republicans who stayed away, Netanyahu said that the current deal relied heavily on international monitoring, when Iran "plays a pretty good game of 'hide and cheat' with UN inspectors".
The prime minister concluded issuing a firm warning that Israel would stand alone if necessary to defend the existence of the Jewish people.
In reacting to Netanyahu's speech, US President Obama said that the absence of an agreement "would make it far more dangerous and would give it [Iran] scope for even greater action in the region."
Speaking to reporters, the US leader said he would not meet Mr Netanyahu, since Israel goes to the polls in just two weeks' time.
A senior administration official backed the president, saying that the speech contained "literally not one new idea; not one single concrete alternative; all rhetoric, no action."
The official said that alternatives to seeking a deal with Iran would be military action or more stringent economic sanctions; neither would set its nuclear programme back. By contrast, an agreement would keep it from taking the final steps towards an atomic arsenal for a decade.
"Where is the alternative?" he asked. "Simply demanding that Iran completely capitulate is not a plan, nor would any country support us in that position. The prime minister offered us no concrete action plan."