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PM Netanyahu vows to use ‘mighty Israeli military’ in response to the signing of the worst pact in world history


JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stepped up his criticism Wednesday of the U.S.-led nuclear deal with Iran, telling CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley that the agreement is a “very dangerous deal for the world” and warning that Israel has a “great and mighty” strength to defend itself.

“Giving the preeminent terrorist state of our time access to nuclear technology that they will ultimately turn into an arsenal of nuclear weapons and hundreds of billions of dollars to finance their terror machine is bad for everyone,” Netanyahu told Pelley.

The Israeli leader said Iran is “the enemy of peace” and the deal – despite the restrictions it places on Tehran’s nuclear program – was “legitimizing their path to a future bomb” within a few years.

“Don’t let them have their yellowcake and eat it too,” Netanyahu said, referring to milled uranium oxide, which is the first step toward enriched uranium.

Netanyahu’s war of words came as his political rival, Isaac Herzog, announced he would go to the U.S. to lobby for a compensation package to insure Israel’s military advantage in the region.

Herzog’s trip reflects the broad opposition to the deal in Israel, where most politicians fear the deal will fail to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons while strengthening the Islamic Republic’s support for Israel’s staunchest enemies.

“I don’t think this is a partisan issue In Israel,” Netanyahu told Pelley. “It shouldn’t be a partisan issue in the United States.”

Addressing parliament, Netanyahu reiterated that Israel was not be bound by the deal and said Israel would continue to oppose it.

“All the more so, we will reserve our right to defend ourselves against all of our enemies,” he said. “We have strength, and it is great and mighty.”

Despite Netanyahu’s tough rhetoric, Israel’s options appear limited, given the wide international support for Tuesday’s agreement.

Israel’s first course of action is expected to be a lobbying effort in the U.S. Congress ahead of a review of the deal. But even there, its influence will be limited since President Barack Obama does not need congressional approval.

The Republican-led Congress will instead likely try to derail the deal by passing new sanctions or preventing Obama from lifting existing sanctions – the key incentive for Iran to comply with the deal. Obama has said he would veto any resolutions undermining the deal.

In the first sign of Israeli diplomatic action, Herzog soon will travel to Washington.

“We must enter dialogue with our big ally, the U.S.,” Herzog said in parliament.



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