WASHINGTON (JTA) — The United States should treat Iran as an enemy and not as a partner, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Jewish leaders.
“Iran is not part of the solution, it’s a huge part of the problem,” Netanyahu said Tuesday, referring to reports that the United States may be coordinating with Iran in their shared battle to crush the Islamic State jihadist group in Iraq and Syria. “The Islamic state of Iran is not a partner of America, it is an enemy of America and it should be treated as an enemy.”
Netanyahu, speaking via video link to the annual General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America, said such treatment should extend to nuclear talks now underway between the major powers and Iran “by keeping tough sanctions on the regime, by making clear that the international community is determined to do whatever it takes to prevent Iran from breaking out or sneaking out to get the bomb.”
He said a deal that would allow Iran a limited uranium enrichment capacity would be a “disaster of historic proportions.”
U.S. officials have said that such a deal is the likely outcome should the sides come to an agreement. The deadline to reach a deal is Nov. 24.
“The worst thing that could happen now is for the international community to agree to a deal that would leave Iran as a threshold nuclear power and removes its sanctions,” he said.
Netanyahu also crticized Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as “irresponsible” for “fanning the flames” of violence as rioting intensifies inside Israel and the West bank this week.
He cited Abbas’ praise for the slain attacker who last month attempted to assassinate a Jewish activist who seeks Jewish access to the Temple Mount, and the Palestinian Authority’s denials of any Jewish connection to the ancient site.