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Iran Dismisses Netanyahu’s ‘Lies’ As Trivial To Nuclear Talks

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Iran Dismisses Netanyahu’s ‘Lies’ As Trivial To Nuclear Talks

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By Golnar Motevalli and Ladane Nasseri, Bloomberg News (TNS)

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran dismissed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to the U.S. Congress as a “repetition of lies,” as some of the nation’s newspapers mocked his appearance in Washington.

Speaking to reporters in Tehran on Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said Netanyahu would be “better off respecting the international community and stop spreading lies and making unfounded allegations.”

In his long-anticipated speech on Tuesday, Netanyahu told U.S. lawmakers that an emerging diplomatic deal over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program would “all but guarantee” that Iran obtains atomic weapons. Iran, Afkham said, isn’t concerned that the Israeli leader’s comments will damage ongoing negotiations.

Hours after Netanyahu spoke, President Barack Obama said he had offered no “viable alternatives” to the accord under discussion, noting that a deal was yet to be agreed on. Netanyahu had accepted an invitation from Republican House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio to address Congress without consulting Obama’s administration, adding to tensions with an ally that provides $3.1 billion a year in military aid to Israel.

The latest round of nuclear negotiations is taking place this week in Montreux, Switzerland, attended by Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif.

In Iran, where officials including President Hassan Rouhani have in the past week highlighted progress made toward an accord, leading newspapers either overlooked Netanyahu’s speech or derided him.

“The ridiculous show in the U.S. Congress,” was the front page headline of the Tehran-based Kayhan newspaper, whose editor in chief is appointed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The paper rejected what it called “Netanyahu’s cheap talk.”

Hamshahri, the best selling daily, ignored the speech. Shargh and Arman, two reformist newspapers, and number of others devoted their front pages to comments by former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who charged domestic critics of the nuclear deal of siding with Netanyahu.

Netanyahu’s “main effort was to generate fear” that Iran “can in the future procure nuclear weapons,” Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani told lawmakers on Wednesday. “It’s interesting that someone who for years has been leaning on more than 200 nuclear warheads announces such concerns.”

Israel neither confirms nor denies having nuclear weapons. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, citing U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency figures, reported in 2013 that the Israelis have an arsenal of 80 nuclear warheads that hasn’t been augmented since 2004.
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Golnar Motevalli reported from Tehran. Ladane Nasseri reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Photo: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a joint session of the U.S. Congress at the Capitol on March 3, 2015 in Washington, D.C.   (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

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3 Comments

  1. Dominick Vila March 5, 2015

    What is clearly evident is that the hatred that most Republicans feel towards President Obama is so intense that they are willing to undermine the Office of the Presidency by ridiculing and trashing a U.S. President in public to derail the President’s agenda and destroy his legacy. Unfortunately for them, most Americans and the overwhelming majority of the people of the world do not share their sentiments or inclination to betray their own country. Most people understand the value of a verifiable accord with Iran on the issue of nuclear weapons development. Most people understand that peaceful coexistence and global stability is preferable to the continuous state of war that has prevailed during, at least, the last century. The dire warnings we have heard from PM Netanyahu and his Likud party during the last several decades have not materialized and are, clearly, designed to preserve indefinite U.S. military and foreign aid under the pretense that Israel is a helpless little country surrounded by evil Muslim nations determined to annihilate the Jewish people. The truth is that Muslims and Jews have coexisted in relative peace during the last two millennia, that the worst atrocities perpetrated against the Jews were carried out by Christians, not Muslims, that Israel has the largest nuclear arsenal, and the best trained, equipped and discipline military forces in the region, that Iran has not demonstrated a desire to attack anyone, and that the entire pseudo crisis we have been hearing has a lot more to do with geo-politics – that go beyond the Israeli interests I mentioned above – than reality. We have as much to gain from global turmoil as the Israelis do.

    Reply
  2. neilperry71 March 5, 2015

    Where’s Biden hidin’? Wasn’t he supposed to be some sort of Middle East expert?

    Reply

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