Benjamin Netanyahu speech to Congress: Isaac Herzog claims PM has sidelined Israel in Iran nuclear talks

'Israeli citizens can be very pleased with the applause at the moment, but for the long term, Israel is out of the picture,' said the opposition leader

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The Independent Online

Israel’s opposition leader accused Benjamin Netanyahu of taking his country “out of the picture” in US nuclear negotiations with Iran by telling the US Congress that American policy was the “countdown to a nuclear nightmare”.

Isaac Herzog, who heads the Zionist Camp grouping hoping to win power from Mr Netanyahu’s Likud-led coalition in elections later this month, said the only effect of the Prime Minister’s speech was to leave Israel without influence over the talks between Iran and the world’s major powers.

“Israeli citizens can be very pleased with the applause at the moment, but for the long term, Netanyahu is out of the picture, Israel is out of the picture. Israel is not part of the process of negotiations,” he told Army Radio.

His comments came as John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, and his Iranian counterpart concluded a third day of negotiations in Switzerland and said they would meet again on 15 March – two days before the Israeli elections.

The pro-Netanyahu Yisrael Hayom newspaper ran the headline “A speech of a historic moment” on its coverage and said Mr Netanyahu had carried out “that with which he is entrusted: defence of the security and future of his country”.

But Yediot Ahronoth newspaper argued: “If Israel truly wants to strive for improvements in the emerging Iran agreement it must restore dialogue with the Obama administration.”

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