Netanyahu warns US against ‘paving way to Iran bomb’

WASHINGTON: The Israeli prime minister has warned that a deal under discussion on Iran’s nuclear programme could “pave its way to the bomb”, rather than block it.
In a speech to US Congress punctuated by standing ovations, Benjamin Netanyahu depicted Iran as a “threat to the entire world”. Talks on Iran’s nuclear programme are nearing a critical late-March deadline for an outline agreement to be reached.
The speech comes just two weeks before a closely fought election in Israel. Mr Netanyahu insisted that he was not trying to meddle in internal US politics.
The White House had criticised his plan to address Congress – at Republican invitation, without consulting the White House – saying the Israeli leader was trying to swell US opposition to any Iran deal.
Following the speech, US President Barack Obama told reporters he had seen nothing new in the speech transcript and that no viable alternative to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon had been presented.
The US, UK, France, Germany, Russia and China are seeking to reach agreement to curtail Iran’s nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief.
They fear Iran has ambitions to build a nuclear bomb – something Iran denies, insisting it is merely exercising its right to peaceful nuclear power he added.