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Israel to Lobby US Congress to Prevent Iran Deal

Naftali Bennett reveals lobbying initiative in IDF Radio interview Sunday; aims to rally international support before renewing talks
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 11/10/2013, 11:32 AM

U.S. Congress
U.S. Congress
AFP photo

Israel is planning to lobby the US Congress to prevent future deals with Iran, AFP reports.

Economics Minister and Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) Chairman Naftali Bennett revealed the initiative in an interview Sunday with IDF Radio. "Before the talks resume, we will lobby dozens of members of the US Congress to whom I will personally explain [. . .] that Israel's security is in jeopardy," Bennet said.

The statements follow a letter Bennett drafted to members of Jewish organizations in the US and abroad which urged them to help pressure international leaders to stop continuing to entertain a diplomatic agreement with the nuclear threat. 

Talks with Iran and other world powers failed to culminate in an agreement this weekend, renewing hope among Israeli leaders and civilians that the international community will reconsider accepting a deal before talks are set to resume on November 20. 

Bennett also alluded to Israel's very public "differences" within US President Barack Obama's administration on reaching a deal with the Islamic republic. "If in ten years an atomic bomb hidden in a suitcase explodes in New York, or a nuclear missile hits Rome, one could say it is because of concessions that would have been made" to Iran, he said.

The statements follow reports that Obama has pressured Netanyahu to concede to the Palestinian Arabs in peace talks in exchange for renewed sanctions on Iran, as well as threats last week from US Secretary of State John Kerry - who was mediating the talks - of a "third intifada" in the event that talks fail. Tensions between the US and Israel are unusually high at the moment, and a lobbying effort may be crucial for rallying international support for Israel. 

AFP also reports that Israel's deputy Defense Minister, Danny Danon, told Voice of Israel public radio on Sunday that "In another two and a half years there will be someone else in the White House, but we will still be here."

"If we have no choice we will act -- that's why Israel has an air force," he concluded.