Barack Obama, along with key American allies, have tacitly given the go-ahead for Iran to acquire nuclear weapons and have crippling sanctions lifted.
Predictably, Israeli leaders are outraged–calling it a horrible mistake that lets Iran run amok, as it continues to build its nuclear capabilities.
“Iran is going to receive a sure path to nuclear weapons,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “Many of the restrictions that were supposed to prevent it from getting there will be lifted.”
Netanyahu’s education minister, Naftali Bennett, had even stronger words: “Today, a terrorist nuclear superpower is born, and it will go down as one of the darkest days in world history.”
Israeli leaders, especially Netanyahu, have long railed against what they saw as insufficient opposition to the regime in Iran, which often threatens to annihilate the Jewish state. They now fear that, with the sanctions that have crippled Iran’s economy coming to an end, Iran will have more cash at its disposal than ever before–and will work hard to make sure that money furthers their anti-Israel, terrorist aims.
U.S. leaders from inside the Obama White House–which has had a notoriously frosty relationship with Netanyahu–have dismissed Israel’s criticism as overblown.
Secretary of State John Kerry, in an interview with NBC, accused Netanyahu of “making comments that are way over the top.”
“This is under attack by people who don’t really know the terms of the agreement,” Kerry added.
Already, bipartisan opposition in Congress is brewing–but it might not matter.
Due to a law passed earlier this year regarding Obama’s Iran negotiations, Congress can only vote to reject the treaty, not vote to affirm it.
That means, if Congress actively rejects the treaty, Obama can simply veto them–and, since overturning a veto requires huge majorities of both houses (that the opposition doesn’t quite have), it looks like the Iran deal will wind up as the final agreement.
Meanwhile, Obama himself called Netanyahu to tell him that the Iran deal doesn’t change America’s commitment to protect Israel–but, given the relationship between the two in the past, there’s no telling whether Netanyahu will believe Obama’s assurances.