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Israel’s Netanyahu Likens Iran To Nazi Germany

  • RFE/RL

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) and U.S. President Barack Obama (combo photo)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) and U.S. President Barack Obama (combo photo)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warns that the world is "closing its eyes" toward Iran's aggressive policies in the Middle East, as it has done toward Nazi Germany.

In an address marking Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day on April 15, Netanyahu said, "As the Nazis strived to trample civilization and replace it with a 'master race' while destroying the Jewish people, so is Iran striving to take over the region and expand further with a declared goal of destroying the Jewish state."

Netanyahu criticized an emerging nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers, saying, "The bad agreement being drafted with Iran teaches us that the historic lesson has not been internalized.”

Six global powers and Iran agreed on April 2 on a framework for a deal that would limit Iran's nuclear activities, making it harder for Tehran to develop nuclear weapons if attempts to do so, in exchange for relief from UN, EU, and U.S. sanctions. They have set a June 30 deadline for a final accord.

Israel has repeatedly warned it fears a deal would do too little to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Tehran denies it is seeking to develop such weapons, saying its nuclear program is for purely peaceful purposes such as power generation.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on April 15 that President Barack Obama's administration is confident the United States and its partners can negotiate a deal that will "make the world safer."

"Looming large is the challenge of finishing the negotiation with Iran over the course of the next two and a half months," Kerry said after arriving in Luebeck, Germany, for a G7 foreign ministers' meeting.

On April 14, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously approved a bill that would empower the U.S. Congress to review the nuclear deal.

Obama had threatened to veto such legislation, but dropped his opposition after Democrats and Republicans reached a compromise on the measure, watering down some of the proposals the White House feared could badly undermine the chances of reaching a deal.

Israel voiced satisfaction with the compromise legislation, which now heads to a full Senate debate and vote.

Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz told Israel Radio on April 15 that giving U.S. lawmakers a say on a final nuclear deal with Iran would be "a very important element in preventing a bad deal, or at least, in improving the agreement and making it more reasonable."

However, Iran dismissed the bill as an internal U.S. issue.

"What the U.S. Senate, Congress, and others say is not our problem," President Hassan Rohani said in a speech on state television on April 15. "We are in talks with the major powers and not with the Congress."

Rohani also stressed that Tehran wants sanctions removed at once if a deal is signed, saying, "Let everybody know that if there is not going to be the end to sanctions in this round of the talks, there is not going to be a deal."

"At the end of these talks and upon the time of signing the deal, there should be an announcement on the end and lifting of the oppressive sanctions against the Iranian nation," he added.

Apparent disagreement over the pace of the removal of sanctions is one of the chief obstacles to an agreement with Tehran.

The United States says the removal of sanctions would be gradual and subject to Tehran's adherence to the deal.

With reporting by AP, Reuters, AFP, and dpa