White House offers pre-buttal to Netanyahu speech

White House offers pre-buttal to Netanyahu speech

[Ed. – NYT broadcasts it into echo chamber.]

Just four days before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to a joint meeting of Congress, the Obama administration sought on Friday to refute the Israeli leader’s expected critique, arguing that he has failed to present a feasible alternative to American proposals for constraining Iran’s nuclear program.

In a briefing for reporters, senior administration officials contended that even an imperfect agreement that kept Iran’s nuclear efforts frozen for an extended period was preferable to a breakdown in talks that could allow the leadership in Tehran unfettered ability to produce enriched uranium and plutonium.

“The alternative to not having a deal is losing inspections,” said one senior official, who would not be quoted by name under conditions that the administration set for the briefing, “and an Iran ever closer to having the fissile material to manufacture a weapon.” …

Mr. Netanyahu, in a speech he is giving at the invitation of the House speaker, John A. Boehner, Republican of Ohio, is expected to argue that the agreement taking shape now would leave Iran with a vast infrastructure it could use to pursue the development of nuclear weapons once the agreement expired, allowing Iran to become a “nuclear threshold state.”

This week, Secretary of State John Kerry told Congress that Mr. Netanyahu was wrong when he predicted that the interim agreement reached with Iran would fail and would result in the collapse of the sanctions regimen against Tehran, and administration officials suggested that his opposition to a comprehensive agreement was also wrongheaded.

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