President Barack Obama weighed in on Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial address to Congress on Tuesday, saying the Israeli prime minister’s remarks did not provide any “viable alternatives” to preventing Iran from securing a nuclear weapon.
The Associated Press reported that after reading a transcript of the speech, Obama noted that Netanyahu used essentially the same language as when the United States brokered an interim deal with Iran, a deal the president said Iran followed through on by scaling back its nuclear program. White House officials also slammed the address:
Sr. administration official: “Literally, not one new idea; not one single concrete alternative; all rhetoric, no action.”
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) March 3, 2015
Earlier Tuesday, Netanyahu characterized the negotiations—which would ease sanctions against Iran in exchange for limits on the country’s nuclear program—as a “bad deal” that would inevitably strengthen Iran’s nuclear capabilities, rather than stopping them.
“I don’t believe that Iran’s radical regime will change for the better after this deal,” Netanyahu said. “This regime has been in power for 36 years and its voracious appetite for aggression grows with each passing year. This deal would whet their appetite—would only whet Iran’s appetite for more.”
In January, House Speaker John Boehner invited Netanyahu to speak before Congress without consulting the White House—a move that received widespread condemnation from Republicans and Democrats as a clear attempt to undermine the president’s authority. As many as 60 Democrats boycotted Tuesday’s speech.