WASHINGTON (JTA) — Keeping Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons power is the “paramount challenge” of this generation, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a pro-Israel conference.
Netanyahu kept his remarks brief on Monday in a live video feed to the annual conference of Christians United for Israel in Washington, D.C.
But speaking to his parliament on the same day, the Israeli leader signaled that he was ready to mount an effort to derail the deal that major powers and Iran appear ready to finalize in talks in Vienna.
“It seems that there are those who are ready to make an agreement at any price – and this bad agreement is unavoidable,” Netanyahu told the Knesset. “Our commitment is to prevent Iran from arming itself with nuclear weapons, and it is valid today more than ever. I call on all those who care about Israel’s security to unite behind this commitment.”
Netanyahu was setting up a task force to lobby against implementation of the deal, The Jerusalem Post reported, with a particular focus on the U.S. Congress, which under U.S. law may disapprove of the deal.
Also, he set up for the first time a Persian language Twitter account as a means of explaining his opposition to a deal to Iranian citizens.
The CUFI conference featured speaker after speaker condemning the deal as appeasement, including an array of Republican presidential hopefuls, among them former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.
“This deal will legitimize Iran and will destabilize the Middle East,” Bush said.