Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday continued his campaign against the Iran nuclear deal, and specifically criticized President Obama for insisting that the deal would prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb.
In defense of the deal, Obama told New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman Tuesday: "We're not measuring this deal by whether we are solving every problem that can be traced back to Iran. We are measuring this deal — and that was the original premise of this conversation, including by Prime Minister Netanyahu — Iran could not get a nuclear weapon."
But Netanyahu said in an interview with NPR Wednesday that the deal not only fails to restrain Iran's nuclear program, but it also makes it easier for Iran to support non-nuclear terrorist activities.
"I think this deal gives Iran a path to a nuclear arsenal, and I think it gives them hundreds of billions of dollars right away with which to pursue their aggression and terror against us and against the United States and the world," he said.
Netanyahu said that though he wishes Iran's path to a nuclear weapon could be barred somehow, there remains a "substantial disagreement" about how to deal with the country's nuclear ambitions.
"Iran has in fact been given two paths to the bomb: One is if they cheat and the second is if they keep to the deal," Netanyahu said. "They win either way."
"No. 1, Iran will cheat," he added. "Second, suppose they don't cheat ... within a decade — 12 years at most — they'll be free to build and enrich uranium at whatever scale they want."
The inspections, which are part of the deal, are "completely porous." Furthermore, after a decade, Iran will be able to enrich uranium at any level, Netanyahu said.
"So I think, if the idea is, well, at least we get them away from the bomb — no, you don't," he added. "You at most might delay it, but I don't think you will because they could cheat. And if you delay it, they'll fan out with the capacity to make the nuclear fissile core necessary for atomic bomb."
The deal, reached Tuesday between Iran and the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, gives Tehran sanctions relief in exchange for curbing its nuclear program. Netanyahu has been vocal for months leading up to the deal — a cause of major tensions between his administration and Obama's.
Now, Congress has 60 days to approve or disapprove the deal.
As Obama tries to convince Congress to not block the deal, Netanyahu maintained Israel will "continue to defend ourselves," but did not say explicitly if he would consider military strikes against Iran.