Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Credit: Cherie Cullen.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Credit: Cherie Cullen.

( Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday issued his latest defense of his upcoming speech to Congress on the Iranian nuclear threat and radical Islam, saying in a statement that he is not seeking a “confrontation” with President Barack Obama on the issue, but instead fulfilling his “obligation to speak up on a matter that affects the very survival of my country.”

The White House has opposed Netanyahu’s March 3 speech because it contends that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) did not consult with the president before inviting Netanyahu. The Obama administration also believes the speech will hurt the P5+1 powers’ chances of reaching a deal in their ongoing nuclear negotiations with Iran.

Netanyahu, however, said Tuesday that Israel has “a profound disagreement with the United States administration and the rest of the P5+1 over the offer that has been made to Iran” in the talks.

“This offer would enable Iran to threaten Israel’s survival,” said Netanyahu. “This is a regime, Iran, that is openly committed to Israel’s destruction. It would be able, under this deal, to break out to a nuclear weapon in a short time, and within a few years, to have the industrial capability to produce many nuclear bombs for the goal of our destruction. This is not a personal disagreement between President Obama and me. I deeply appreciate all that he has done for Israel in many fields. Equally, I know that the president appreciates my responsibility, my foremost responsibility, to protect and defend the security of Israel.”

Netanyahu also said that disagreements about Israel’s security “have occurred between prime ministers in Israel from the left and from the right and American presidents from both parties.”

“None of these disagreements led to a rupture in the relationship between Israel and the United States,” he said. “In fact, over time, our relationship grew stronger.”

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