Netanyahu Not Conceding Defeat on Iran Deal

YERUSHALAYIM -

While U.S. President Barack Obama was declaring victory Wednesday in the Senate vote on the Iran deal, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was refusing to concede defeat.

“The prime minister has a responsibility to speak out against the deal that threatens this country, the region and the world,” an Israeli government official told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday night. “And he will continue to do so.”

“Iranian leaders openly say they will continue their terrorism and aggression, and they will now — with the sanctions relief — have enhanced resources to do so, because the deal will give them billions of dollars,” the official added. “This issue will continue to engage us all.”

Sources close to the prime minister also said he had no regrets over his controversial campaign against the deal in Congress and the media, which repeatedly antagonized the Obama administration. Netanyahu has maintained that it was his “duty” to do whatever possible to prevent Iran getting a nuclear weapon.

“The American people get it,” the sources said. “They understand the dangers to Israel. They understand the dangers to the United States. That’s why a clear majority believe the deal should be rejected, which is also reflected in Congress, where a clear majority seems prepared to reject the deal.”

Netanyahu will continue to actively oppose the Iran nuclear deal, they said.

However, they would not comment on any timetable for talks with the U.S. on enhanced military assistance, as promised by Obama in recent days.

Officials in the Prime Minister’s Office denied reports that he was planning to attend the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America meeting in Washington in November and meet with Obama during that visit.

“Nothing has been decided yet” about whether to even attend that conference, one official said.

Netanyahu is, however, scheduled to go to New York for the U.N. General Assembly at the end of September, though no meeting with Obama is on the itinerary.