Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accused the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) of responsibility for the current nuclear escalation with Iran. In remarks delivered via satellite with Pastor John Hagee at the Christians United for Israel (CUFI) conference in Washington D.C., the Israeli leader insisted that the 2015 international atomic pact was a “terrible deal” because it was based on the lie that Tehran was not seeking nuclear weapons. Netanyahu cited the secret atomic archive Israeli intelligence agents acquired during a clandestine operation in Tehran as proof that the Islamic Republic had been “working on developing atomic bombs as early as 20 years ago.”
The Israeli leader further condemned the JCPOA as having not only “failed to solve the one problem it was supposed to solve” by halting the Ayatollah Regime’s aspirations, but for instead having provided “a path to getting a nuclear arsenal when the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear programs were removed. It didn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb; it paved it.”
Netanyahu went on to charge that the deal then “made other problems worse by removing sanctions on Iran – thereby helping Iran fuel its war machine in the region,” with delivery of “potentially hundreds of billions of dollars – to fund its aggression.”
After expressing Israel’s deep gratitude for U.S. President Donald Trump’s “bold” decisions to withdraw from the deal and reimpose sanctions described by Netanyahu as “vital” for the security of the Jewish State, the region, the U.S. and the world; he added that Iran’s recent attacks on oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz, downing of an unmanned American drone and missile fire at neighboring states have not reduced but only increased pressures over Washington’s actions.
The Israeli leader concluded by calling on Europe to “stand up to Iran’s aggression now” and “back the sanctions instituted by President Trump,” as Israel “certainly did.”
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also gave separate speeches at the Washington conference. The Vice President’s comments that the U.S. is prepared to protect its personnel and citizens in the Middle East, while warning Iran “not to confuse American restraint with a lack of American resolve,” were greeted with rounds of applause from the evangelical audience.
As he underscored Washington’s commitment to “oppose Iran’s malign influence,” Pence reaffirmed the White House would “never allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon.” Trump called off air strikes against Iran last month minutes before impact after Iran shot down a U.S. unmanned drone. In his prepared remarks, Pence had planned to say that Washington remained open to talks with Tehran – but dropped the line in his delivered speech.
In his address, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton stressed the Trump Administration’s intent to continue ramping up the pressure on Iran until it abandons its pursuit of nuclear weapons and ceases its violent activities in the Middle East, which he said includes “conducting and supporting terrorism around the world.” Those gathered cheered when Bolton said it was “a real 4th of July present” when the British Royal Marines seized a supertanker with millions of barrels of Iranian oil off Gibraltar on the U.S. Independence Day, saying “Actions such as this to disrupt sanctions evasion are critical to denying both the Syrian and Iranian regime’s the financial resources they desperately need.” He then vowed that Washington will “redouble our cooperation with our allies and partners to enforce our sanctions and enforce freedom of navigation.”
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Trump Administration has “implemented the strongest pressure campaign in history against the Iranian regime,” and is still “not done.” He also drew attention to the fact that Washington “cut off billions in funds that the Islamic Republic’s leadership would have used for various nefarious purposes – not the least of which would have been their efforts to destroy the state of Israel.”
The top U.S. diplomat then turned his focus to Iran’s Islamist proxies, saying that “It is also the case that under President Trump the Israel haters such as Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad receive far less blood money from Iran to pursue their terrorism than ever in recent history.”
The speeches from Israel and its allies came just one day after Iran announced it will exceed the 3.67% uranium enrichment limit set by its 2015 landmark nuclear deal, with the intent to continue reducing its commitments every 60 days unless signatories of the pact move to protect it from U.S. sanctions.