US House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has denounced Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress as an "insult" to the United States.
“I was near tears throughout the [Israeli] prime minister’s speech – saddened by the insult to the intelligence of the United States as part of the P5+1 nations, and saddened by the condescension toward our knowledge of the threat posed by Iran and our broader commitment to preventing nuclear proliferation,” Pelosi said in a statement just after the speech.
Netanyahu’s controversial speech started on Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. (local time). He was invited by US House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner hours after President Barack Obama threatened to veto any sanctions legislation against Iran during his State of the Union address on January 20.
More than 50 House Democrats boycotted the event. The Obama administration is both angry at Netanyahu’s accepting the Republican invitation to address Congress two weeks before the Israeli election without consulting the White House and excessive Israel Lobby interference in American foreign policy.
Iran and the P5+1 group - Russia, China, France, Britain, the US and Germany – are negotiating to narrow their differences over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear energy program ahead of a July 1 deadline.
In his speech, Netanyahu accused the United States of trying to negotiate “a very bad deal” with Iran over its nuclear energy program.
“We’ve been told for over a year that no deal is better than a bad deal. Well this is a bad deal, a very bad deal. We’re better off without it,” he said.
He said that the ongoing nuclear negotiations would provide Iran “with a short breakout time for a bomb.”