Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will reportedly address a joint session of Congress on February 11 at the invitation of Speaker John A. Boehner, who has asked him to address American legislators on the issue of Iran.
Boehner extended the invitation Wednesday less than 24 hours after President Barack Obama snubbed the Congress on the issue in his State of the Union address on national television.
“Prime Minister Netanyahu is a great friend of our country, and this invitation carries with it our unwavering commitment to the security and well-being of his people. In this time of challenge, I am asking the prime minister to address Congress on the grave threats radical Islam and Iran pose to our security and way of life,” Boehner wrote in a statement. “Americans and Israelis have always stood together in shared cause and common ideals, and now we must rise to the moment again. As many have pointed out, there’s no proof Obama’s actions have in fact halted Iran’s nuclear program. Indeed, the diplomacy has worried those who most fear the consequences of a nuclear breakout in Iran, including Netanyahu.”
The invitation was a strong gesture of support to the Jewish State. But it was also a direct slap at the president who repeated his threat to veto any proposed legislation toughening sanctions against Iran over its nuclear development activities. Obama wants lawmakers to allow him time to complete diplomatic negotiations with Tehran.
Last week it was announced that Iran is building two new nuclear plants “for peaceful purposes” – similar to all the other “peaceful civilian” nuclear facilities now churning out uranium enriched to military weapons grade levels.
Iran’s atomic agency chief said a week ago that Iran is increasing its uranium enrichment capacity to 30 tons per year, according to the Tasnim news agency, as quoted by China’s Xinhua news group. The increased production levels are intended to meet the “fuel needs of the Bushehr nuclear power plant.”
But at the beginning of the current round of negotiations, didn’t the Iranians agree to “freeze” their program during the talks? It is no secret that Iran has used talks to buy time in the past – nor is it a secret to anyone who watches the “talk game” that they are doing it now as well.
Israel’s prime minister has warned world leaders repeatedly about the risk facing their nations, their people and his own because of the gamble taken by the White House. He also said there was a limit as to how far Israel would be willing to allow that gamble to endanger Israeli lives.
Netanyahu has addressed the U.S. Congress twice before, in 2011 and prior to that in 1996. Each time he has addressed the threat of Iran’s steadily growing nuclear prowess and what it could mean for America and the world.
Next month’s address will undoubtedly exacerbate the already strained ties that exist between Jerusalem and the White House. But time is running out for everyone. Netanyahu and the people of Israel face elections in March.
Iran can do a lot of damage before then.