Congress uninformed on Iran deal while Israel already 'knows a lot,' official says

Senior official in Netanyahu's Washington entourage would not elaborate on how Israel has the details of the Iran deal still in progress.

March 2, 2015 01:17
1 minute read.
US Capitol

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanks Speaker Boehner following his address to a joint meeting of Congress in the Rayburn Room of the US Capitol, May 24, 2011. (photo credit: SPEAKER.GOV)

WASHINGTON DC — There is incomplete knowledge among many members of congress regarding the emerging deal with Iran, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — due to speak to congress on Tuesday — will try to fill in the blanks, a senior official in the prime minister's entourage said Sunday.

Netanyahu arrived in Washington Sunday afternoon for a two-day visit which will climax in his speech Tuesday to congress.

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Disputing comments made recently by US Secretary of State John Kerry, the official said that Israel has a great deal of information about what is in the agreement. He would not elaborate on how it has the details of the deal still in progress, beyond saying "We know what we know, and we know a lot."

The official repeated Israel's position that the emerging deal is a bad one and it is dangerous to Israel, saying it will keep in Iran's hand the capability to produce "a nuclear bomb."

The official said that Netanyahu spoke with Kerry by phone on Saturday, and the official insisted the timing of the controversial speech to congress is linked to the approaching March 24 deadline for a framework nuclear agreement, and not to the Israeli elections.

The official said the purpose of the speech was not to politically harm US President Barack Obama but rather to warn from the most prominent venue available about the dangers of the impending deal. "Coming up to the deadline, we want to warn about making concessions, and there are some not good concessions being made."

The official also said that any deal worked out would not be called a treaty or an agreement, but rather a joint comprehensive plan of action, or something similar. The reason would be to avoid having to bring to congress a ratification.

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