Netanyahu Refutes Obama No Alternate Plan' Claim
JERUSALEM, Israel -- U.S. President Barack Obama brushed off Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech before Congress, saying he didn't offer any "viable alternatives" to the pending nuclear deal with Iran.
The president was backed by a chorus of nay-sayers, including The New York Times, which labeled Netanyahu's remarks "political theatre" and Iranian officials who called it "deceitful propaganda."
The Washington Post, however, said the political rhetoric coming from the Obama administration "will not satisfy those in and out of Congress who share Mr. Netanyahu's legitimate questions."
Upon arriving back in Israel, Netanyahu countered Obama's remarks, saying Israel had presented a practical alternative to deal with Iran.
"After my short visit to the United States, I return to Israel knowing that many around the world heard what Israel has to say about the impending deal with Iran," Netanyahu said. "In my speech before the Congress, I presented a practical alternative, which would impose tougher restrictions on Iran's nuclear program, extending Iran's breakout time by years."
"I also called on the P5+1 to insist on a deal that would link the lifting of those restrictions to Iran's ceasing its sponsorship of terrorism around the world, its aggression against its neighbors and its calls for Israel's destruction. I heard encouraging responses from both Democrats and Republicans. They understood that the current proposal would lead to a bad deal and that the alternative is a better deal," he said.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fl, said Netanyahu presented an alternative plan, while reminding people of the "true nature of the Iranian regime."
"It wasn't so much geared toward Congress as it was toward the American people, a reminder first of all of the true nature of the Iranian regime," Rubio told Fox News Megan Kelly.
"It's a radical regime grounded in radical Shi'ite principles that they expect and want to spread around the world, a reminder that they're the leading state sponsor of terrorism on the planet that they also are developing long-range rockets, probably have already bought a weapons design and also a reminder that a deal is only as good as your ability to verify it," he said, adding that Iran has a history of hiding "key components of its nuclear program."
Iran, he said, should have to choose between its economy and developing nuclear weapons.
"The plan is Iran is presented with a choice," Rubio said. "You can either have an economy or you can have a nuclear weapons program, but you can't have both. That's why sanctions are so important."
Meanwhile, Saudi columnist Dr. Ahmad Al-Faraj also backed Netanyahu's decision to speak to Congress, calling it important to the entire Middle East, not just Israel.
In a column posted earlier this month in the Saudi daily Al-Arabiyah, translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Al-Faraj said Netanyahu's address will serve the interests of the people of the Gulf more than Obama's "foolish behavior."
"Since Obama is the godfather of the prefabricated revolutions in the Arab world and since he is the ally of political Islam, [which is] the caring mother of [all] the terrorist organizations, and since he is working to sign an agreement with Iran that will come at the expense of the U.S.'s longtime allies in the Gulf, I am very glad of Netanyahu's firm stance and [his decision] to speak against the nuclear agreement at the American Congress despite the Obama administration's anger and fury," Al-Faraj wrote.
"Netanyahu's conduct will serve our interests, the people of the Gulf, much more than the foolish behavior of one of the worst American presidents," he concluded.