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article imageNetanyahu meets with US lawmakers

By Layne Weiss     Mar 6, 2012 in World
Just a day after meeting with President Barack Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with US lawmakers Tuesday to reemphasize the very serious threat a nuclear-armed Iran poses against Israel.
CNN reports that Netanyahu first met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, which was followed by a meeting with House speaker John Boehner and House MInority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California.
The US Congress has strong bipartisan support for Israel's security. For instance, on Monday, both Republican and Democratic House members introduced legislation Monday affirming "the deep military and security ties forged over the past few years between the United States and the state of Israel."
The legislation also reaffirms US policy that Israel has the right defend itself and that America's loyalty and support for Israel is remains unbreakable.
The legislation was introduced by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland.
In their meeting yesterday, Obama and Netanyahu seemed united in their efforts against Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon, but soon after, Netanyahu told a cheering audience at the American Israel Public Affair Committee (AIPAC) policy conference that the time for diplomacy is running short. President Obama has made it clear that he prefers diplomacy over force, but that he will use force if absolutely necessary.
The Israeli leader said Tuesday that Israel has not made a decision on attacking Iran.They say they haven't made a decision and I take them at face value," Massachusetts Senator John Kerry commented. "But I think they are making very clear their distinction between the US perception of timing and theirs."
Senator Kerry reiterated the importance of the United States and Israel remaining united, and echoed President Obama's sentiments that there was still time for diplomacy, though he couldn't put a number on exactly how much.
According to CNN, one senator, who requested to remain unidentified, expressed the feeling that Netanyahu is being smart about pushing the idea of Israel attacking Iran. He or she says it ""creates a sense of uncertainty in Iran."
Speaker of the House John Boehner said, "The United States Congress will never allow Israel to stand alone, and expressed his view that "the growing threat of a nuclear Iran cannot be ignored."
Tehran continues to insist its nuclear program will be used only for peaceful means, but the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Director General, Yukiya Amano says he cannot say if Iran's claims are accurate.
Following the meeting, Netanyahu said he will go back to Israel knowing he has friends in Washington. He described today's meeting a "remarkable display of solidarity," and said the lawmakers he spoke with exhibited "clarity, courage, and wisdom."
More about usisrael relations, Nuclear weapons, Diplomacy, Congress
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