House Majority Leader McCarthy: Netanyahu ‘not interfering' on Iran

After meeting with Netanyahu, visiting US congressman shoots down Obama's statement that Netanyahu has interjected himself into Washington politics more forcibly than any other foreign leader.

August 13, 2015 15:09
2 minute read.
Kevin McCarthy

US House of Representatives' majority leader Kevin Owen McCarthy speaks during a meeting at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem on August 13, 2015.. (photo credit: AFP PHOTO / GALI TIBBON)


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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is advocating for his country's best interests when he opposes the Iran deal and has not interfered in Washington politics, Republican House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters in Jerusalem on Thursday.

“I do not see where Benjamin Netanyahu was interfering with anything,” said McCarthy, just one day after he and 35 other visiting Republican congressmen met with Netanyahu.

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The prime minister held a similar meeting on Sunday with a visiting delegation of 24 Democratic congressmen.

McCarthy said that his group’s Wednesday conversation with Netanyahu lasted for 90 minutes. Netanyahu listened to the group and answered its questions, McCarthy said.

Congress is expected to vote by September 17th on the deal to curb Iran's nuclear program that was worked out between Tehran and the six world powers — the US, Russia, China, Germany, France and the United Kingdom.

In advance of the vote, the tension between US President Barack Obama and Netanyahu has increased. On Sunday, Obama told CNN that Netanyahu has interjected himself into Washington politics more forcibly than any other foreign leader.

But on Thursday, McCarthy said that Netanyahu was simply doing his job as Israel's leader.

“He is elected by the State of Israel and voices the opinion of the state on security,” McCarthy said.

Netanyahu “did not tell us how to vote. Much like every other leader of any other country, he conveyed what he sees. He was very open and I thought he was more concise than I have ever seen him,” McCarthy said.

“I think from concerns that he has about the agreement the majority of the room has the same concerns,” McCarthy said.

Netanyahu spoke of what would happen 13 years into the future, when Iran has billions of dollars and the ability to produce atomic weapons, particularly in light of their support of terrorism today, McCarthy said.

Given "everything I have seen from Iran, their policies have not changed,” he said. Iran has only increased its funding of terror organizations, McCarthy said.

“One of the biggest concerns is the the billions more Iran would have [with the deal] what will they do with it, who would fund it,” McCarthy said.

The Republican politician later told ABC Radio, that Netanyahu had spoken to his group about the danger a nuclear Iran posed to the US, when it had missiles that could reach the American shores.

“I felt he made some of the strongest arguments [about the danger Iran posed] for America and the rest of the world. If we want to have security and a safe world, this agreement does not do it,” McCarthy said.

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