Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that he "respects" US President Barack Obama but stressed he has no choice but to travel to America to lobby against a nuclear deal with Iran.
"I respect the White House and the US president but on a serious subject, it's my duty to do everything for Israel's security," Netanyahu said during a campaign rally in Ma'ale Adumim.
"Under the agreement that is being prepared, we have reason to worry… if the world powers have reached an agreement with Iran," he added.
Netanyahu will be addressing Congress on March 3, and is also scheduled to speak at the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) annual policy conference.
Fears have heightened drastically this week, after some progress was reported in talks between Iran and P5+1 Monday, with diplomats admitting that Western powers aim for a deal lasting at least ten years under which Iran will be left with its centrifuges – but would need at least one year to produce enough highly enriched uranium for a single nuclear bomb, the so-called "breakout" capacity. Iran has been pressing for 19 times its current enrichment capacity.
But the speech has been met with unfettered criticism from Washington, with US National Security Adviser Susan Rice stating Wednesday that the address is "destructive" and US Secretary of State John Kerry issuing a veiled jab at Netanyahu Tuesday, saying that those voicing their opposition to deal being negotiated with Iran over its nuclear program are "uninformed."
AFP contributed to this report.