— -- In a speech to Congress today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Iran is playing a "deadly 'Game of Thrones'" and warned that the country's regime "poses a great threat not only to Israel but also to the peace of the entire world."
“In this deadly 'Game of Thrones,' there is no place for America or for Israel. No place for Christians, Jews or Muslims," he said. "So when it comes to Iran or ISIS the enemy of your enemy is your enemy."
Netanyahu thanked lawmakers for decades of support and said Israelis were protected last summer from Hamas rocket attacks "because this Capitol Dome helped build our Iron Dome."
He then turned to Iran, warning that "Iran's regime poses a great threat not only to Israel but also to the peace of the entire world."
"Iran's regime is as radical as ever," Netanyahu said. "This regime will always be an enemy of America."
Netanyahu warned that if the Iran nuclear deal is accepted "that deal will not prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons," but "it will guarantee" Iran gets the bomb.
The Israeli prime minister heavily criticized a nuclear deal under negotiations between the United States, Iran and the other so-called P5+1 world powers.
"It doesn't block Iran's path to the bomb. It paves Iran's path to the bomb," he said.
Netanyahu called on Congress not to lift restrictions on Iran until Iran stops its aggression against its neighbors in the Middle East, stop supporting terrorism around the world, and stop threatening to annihilate Israel.
"For over a year we've been told that no deal is better than a bad deal," he said. "Well this is a bad deal. A very bad deal. We're better off without it."
Netanyahu said Israel can defend itself and promised to act unilaterally against Iran if necessary, though he believes the U.S. would stand with Israel.
"As prime minister of Israel, I can promise you more than one thing: even if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand," he said. "I know that Israel does not stand alone! I know that America stands with Israel!" he said. "My friends, may Israel and America always stand together, strong and resolute. May we neither fear nor dread the challenges ahead. May we face the future with confidence, strength and hope."
Dozens of Democrats skipped the address, although every seat on the floor and gallery was filled with more than 1,100 people listening to the prime minister in the chamber.
“I was near tears throughout the Prime Minister’s speech – saddened by the insult to the intelligence of the United States as part of the P5 +1 nations, and saddened by the condescension toward our knowledge of the threat posed by Iran and our broader commitment to preventing nuclear proliferation,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, noted. “We have all said that a bad deal is worse than no deal, and stopping the spread of nuclear weapons is the bedrock of our foreign policy and national security.”
During his speech, Netanyahu acknowledged his speech has been "subject of great controversy," but he said it was "never my intention" in accepting the invitation.
Some Democrats had complained that the invitation was inappropriate given the Israeli elections just two weeks away, and a deadline to strike a nuclear deal with Iran that looms at the end of the month. Republicans however, contended that the invitation comes at a critical juncture in foreign policy.
“The Prime Minister’s address coincides with an increasingly aggressive Iranian campaign to expand its sphere of influence across the Middle East,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said today. “It represents a threat to both our countries. It represents a threat to moderate Sunni allies, and it represents a threat to the international community at large. That’s why Prime Minister Netanyahu is here today.”