In a speech before a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu laid out the perils of a potentially "very bad" nuclear deal with Iran and called for the U.S. to work toward a better one for the sake of Israel and the entire world's security.
"We've been told that no deal is better than a bad deal," Netanyahu said. "Well, this is a bad deal. It's a very bad deal. We're better off without it."
Netanyahu spoke strongly about the threat of Iran, the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world, calling the new supposedly moderate regime "as radical as ever" and still bent on the destruction of Israel. He also laid out the connections between Iran and the Islamic State terrorist group, saying that despite their differences they were both still dangerous enemies of the U.S.
The deal that could be struck between Iran and the U.S. would at best curtail Iran's nuclear ambitions but would do nothing to end them, and it would create a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, Netanyahu said.
"Not a single nuclear facility would be demolished," he said. "Thousands of centrifuges used to enrich uranium would be left spinning."
Even before it began, Netanyahu's speech infuriated the White House. Obama has long been at odds with him, and more than 50 Democrats boycotted Netanyahu's speech. Netanyahu used his prominent platform Tuesday to demonstrate why Obama's second-term goal would have the unintended effect of further endangering the Jewish state.
Two key concessions to Iran made the deal "so bad," Netanyahu said.
"One, leaving Iran with a vast nuclear program, and two, lifting the restrictions on that program in about a decade," he said. "That's why this deal is so bad. It doesn't block Iran's path to the bomb, it paves Iran's path to the bomb … This deal won't change Iran for the better. It will only change the Middle East for the worse."
If Iran wanted to have its sanctions lifted, Netanyahu called on the Islamic Republic to meet three requirements.
"First, stop its aggression against its neighbors in the Middle East," he said. "Second, stop supporting terrorism around the world. And third, stop threatening to annihilate my country Israel, the one and only Jewish state!"
Those lines drew an extended standing ovation. Repeating a theme from his speech Monday to AIPAC, Netanyahu also declared that the days of Jewish passivity in the face of "genocidal enemies" were over.
"The greatest danger facing our world is the marriage of militant Islam with nuclear weapons," he said. "We can't let that happen. But that, my friends, is exactly what could happen if the deal now being negotiated is accepted by Iran."