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Benjamin Netanyahu US Congress
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives to address US Congress Mandel Ngan/AFP
  • Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address congress at 11am EST (4pm GMT)
  • Netanyahu expected to warn against dangers of nuclear Iran
  • A quarter of Democrats expected to boycott speech
  • Obama has defended potential nuclear deal with Iran, which would open up country to increased inspections

In an uncompromising speech to the US Congress, Netanyahu called on the US to stand with Israel in blocking Iran;s nuclear programme.

Here are a few key points from the speech.

• Called on the US to overhaul is terms of negotiations with Iran, telling Congress, "the alternative to a bad deal is not no deal, it is a much better deal."

• He argued that Iran would be easily able to evade a regime of inspections, and that the deal would leave much of Iran's nuclear structure intact.

• He said that Iran must change its behaviour if it wants to be treated as an equal by the international community, accusing it of supporting terrorism and being behind much of the unrest that is convulsing the Middle East. "If Iran does not change its behaviour, the restrictions should not be lifted. If Iran wants to be treated like a normal country, let it act like a normal country," Netanyahu said.

• Underscoring the threat from Iran despite it sharing with the US a common enemy in jihadist group Isis, Netanyahu said "Your enemy's enemy is your enemy."

• Addressing allegations that Netanyahu's speech provocatively exaggerated the partisan rift in US politics, after he was invited to speak by Republican House speaker John Boehner without Obama's approval, Netanyahu said the relationship between the US and Israel "must always remain above politics," and thanked Obama for his support.

Follow the link for IBTimes UK's coverage of the reaction to Netanyahu's historic speech to Congress

BBC's Middle East editor questions whether Obama may need to appeal to the emotions as Netanyahu did to gain traction for his Iran deal.

Netanyahu attracting criticism for not suggesting a negotiating strategy with Iran in the speech, with Obama strategist David Axelrod describing the speech as "GOP cheerleading."

US presidential hopeful Jeb Bush, brother of former president George W Bush, has tweeted his praise for Netanyahu's speech today.

One senator who chose to boycott he speech has defended his decision.

More praise from the US right.

"Americans may like Binyamin Netanyahu more than Israelis do," tweets @ghoshworld, with the Israeli pm's re-election far from certain.

Netanyahu's speech attracting praise and condemnation, with some critical that he did not mention conflict with Palestinians and its role in fomenting unrest in the region, and others describing it as a necessary warning on the dangers posed by nuclear Iran.

An uncompromising speech from Netanyahu earning the Israeli prime minister a standing ovation as he left the stage.

To recap the main points.

Netanyahu paintd a picture as Iran as behind much of the unrest that is convulsing the Middle East, and said that a nuclear Iran could lead to a nuclear arms race across the region.

Comparing Iran to Isis, he declared, in one of the speech's most memorable soundbites "your enemy's enemy is your enemy."

He called on the US to support Israel in blocking Iran's nuclear programme, and to reject the Obama administration's proposed deal, which would see the sanctions lifted in exchange for increased international inspections.

He criticised previous attempts to monitor Iran's nuclear programme, declaring them ineffective.

"We must all stand together to stop Iran's march of conquest, subjugation and terror," he decalred.

"Be strong and resolute, may we neither fear or dread the challenges ahead," says Netanyahu, quoting Moses, whose statue stands in the chamber.

"May God bless Israel, and may God bless the United States of America," he says, to standing ovations, concluding his speech.

"Even if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand. But I know that Israel does not stand alone, i know that America stands with Israel, I know that you stand with Israel."

"Your life and work inspire us to give meaning to the words 'never again'" says Netanyahu.

"The days when the Jewish people remain passive in front of genocidal enemies. Those days are over," declares Netanyahu.

Holocaust survivor and Nobel prize winner Elie Wiesel now invited onto the stage, to loud applause.

"The alternative to a bad deal is not no deal, it is a much better deal," Netanyahu tells Congress.

Netanyahu attracting strong Twitter support from US conservatives.

"If Iran does not change its behaviour, the restrictions should not be lifted. If Iran wants to be treated like a normal country, let it ACT like a normal country," Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu demands Iran stops threats to annihilate Israel and stop sponsoring terrorism, to standing ovations in the House.

"Stop threatening to annihilate my country Israel, the one and true Jewish state" he says.

Claims that Iran's possession of nuclear bomb would lead to Middle Eastern nuclear arms race.

Describes deal as "countdown to potential nuclear nightmare."

"Why should Iran's radical regime change for the better when it can enjoy the best of both world's: aggression abroad, prosperity at home", Netanyahu on plans to lift Iran sanctions as part of proposed deal.

Deal "doesn't block Iran's path to the bomb, it paves Iran's path to the bomb."

"Like North Korea, Iran has broke the locks and shut off the cameras" - Netanyahu on Iran's alleged evasion of nuclear inspections.

Netanyahu now outlining Iranian development of nuclear capacity.

"Iran has proved time and again it cannot be trusted."

"Greatest danger is marriage of militant Islam with nuclear weapons" declares Netanyahu, in stark description of dangers he believes Iran poses.

Describes Middle east crisis as "deadly Game of Thrones."

"The enemy of your enemy, is your enemy," declare Netanyahu on Iran/Isis

Netanyahu expressly comparing Iran and Isis. "The difference is that Isis is armed with butcher's knives and YouTube, while Iran could soon be armed with nuclear weapons."

Netanyahu: "We must all now stand together to stop Iran's march of conquest, subjugation and terror."

Netanyahu now outlining Iranian attacks against US, incl Iraq, and alleging increasing Iranian involvement in Middle eastern unrest.

Netanyahu: "Iran's regime is not merely a Jewish problem, anymore than a Nazi regime was merely a Jewish problem."

"To understand how dangerous Iran would be with nuclear weapons, we must understand its regime"

"I've come here speak to you about an issue that could well threaten the survival of my country". says Netanyahu.

"last year Israel was defended from hundreds of Hamas rockets, because this Capitol dome, helped build our iron dome, " Netanyahu to Congress.

"We appreciate all that Barack Obama has done for us. And we feel his support on intelligence sharing, partnership at UN," Netanyahu tells Congress.

"Deeply regret that some perceive my being here as political, that was never my intention" says Netanyahu.

Netanyahu says his speech must "remain above politics" as the US and Israel share a "common destiny".

"I know my speech has been the subject of much controversy," declares Netanyahu, and thanks Congress for their support for Israel "year after year, decade after decade," setting off more enthusiastic applause.

He is warmly applauded as he greets Senators and representatives in Congress

Netanyahu is given a round of applause by the House as he approaches the speaker's podium.

US Republican senator Rand Paul has welcomed Netanyahu on Twitter.

House Speaker John Boehner gaveled in the session, welcoming Senate members into the House chamber for the speech

53 per cent of Republicans have a favourable view of Netanyahu, compared to 28 per cent of Democrats, according to Pew research.

Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif has commented on Netanyahu's speech. He told the CNN in Switzerland, just before key talks with the US on Iran's nuclear programme that Netanyahu "is "trying to create tension and conflict" by speaking to Congress"


Netanyahu has attracted criticism for delivering the speech.

The planned speech has already generated controversy, with almost a quarter of House democrats (eight senators and 47 House members) announcing that they intend to boycott the speech today, while House speaker Republican John Boehner, who invited Netanyahu to speak, is expected to present Netanyahu with a bust of Sir Winston Churchill, to mark that fact that they are the only two leaders to have addressed Congress three times.

For Netanyahu, the stakes could not be higher, with the Israeli elections only two weeks away, it may his last chance to rally support domestically while building international support against Obama's deal with Iran, in which the country would restrict the number of centrifuges it uses for nuclear development and open itself up to increased nuclear inspections.

Netanyahu's US trip to address Congress
Benjamin Netanyahu has been accused of electioneering by using a US Congress speech to attack Barack Obama's policy on the Iran nuclear issue. Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

3.20pm (GMT)

In a speech to Aipac, Natanyahu outlined the speech he will deliver today.

"I plan to speak about an Iranian regime that is threatening to destroy Israel, that's devouring country after country in the Middle East, that's exporting terror throughout the world and that is developing, as we speak, the capacity to make nuclear weapons — lots of them," he said.

On Tuesday, Obama defended the potential deal.

"Why would we not take that deal when we know the alternatives, whether through sanctions or military actions, will not result in as much assurance that Iran [is not] developing a nuclear weapon?" the president told Reuters.

When asked if the speech could permanently damage US/Israel relations, he replied.

"I don't think it's permanently destructive. I think that it is a distraction from what should be our focus. And our focus should be, 'How do we stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon?'"