Amid the ongoing controversy over Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's planned speech to Congress next week, Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) has expressed her support for the address despite opposition from the White House, declaring that the US-Israel relationship "is greater than any one person," in a clear swipe at President Barack Obama.
Speaking at an event in New York hosted by leading American Jewish community figure Dr. Joseph Frager Thursday, Ayotte stated that the speech could not come at a more appropriate – and crucial – time.
"This is a very important time for us to hear from the prime minister," she said.
Members of Congress "are concerned" over signs that negotiations between world powers, led by the US, and Iran would end with an "insufficient" agreement, she continued.
"To my regret, the information which has reached me in recent days greatly strengthens our concerns regarding the agreement being formulated between the major powers and Iran," Netanyahu told reporters during a tour of the IDF's Southern Command headquarters.
"This agreement, if indeed it is signed, will allow Iran to become a nuclear threshold state. That is, with the consent of the major powers, Iran – which openly declares its intention to destroy the State of Israel – will receive a license to develop the production of bombs.
"This is a bad agreement that endangers our future," and the reason he was so determined to address Congress, Netanyahu added.
"It is my obligation as Prime Minister to do everything that I can to prevent this agreement; therefore, I will go to Washington to address the American Congress because the American Congress is likely to be the final brake before the agreement between the major powers and Iran."
Ayotte echoed those sentiments Thursday.
"It is unacceptable for Iran to have nuclear weapons capability, and the only acceptable agreement is one that ends their program, is completely transparent and verifiable," she said, dismissing claims by Tehran that its nuclear program is peaceful.
"You don't need enriched uranium or underground facilities or a plutonium reactor for peaceful nuclear power."
Turning to comments made by Rice, who warned that Netanyahu's speech could prove "destructive" for the US-Israel relationship, Ayotte responded: "The bond between the United States and Israel could not be stronger, and the fact is that the prime minister will be welcomed, I believe fully, by the United States Senate and Congress."
Legislators will be receptive to Netanyahu's message, Ayotte predicted, given that Iran poses a clear national security threat not only to Israel, but to America as well.
"Let us not forget Iran has said that they want to annihilate Israel from the face of the earth, and they have also called the United States the 'Great Satan'," she added, imploring Congressmen "on both sides of the isle" to listen to the Israeli PM and work together to "protect the world" from Iran.
She also noted that "Iran is the largest state sponsor of terrorism," which has "continued to make efforts for regional domination" by funding, training and supporting Shia Islamist proxies in countries like Yemen and Syria.
Yet Iran's role in supporting global terrorism "doesn't seem to be on the table for these negotiations," Ayotte lamented, calling for that to change.
Neither has anything been done to address the fact that Iran has been actively developing its nuclear-capably Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBMs) program during the negotiations, Ayotte pointed out.
"This has to be a real agreement," she stressed, "one the world can count on, one that Israel can count on, one that the United States can count on – not one that sounds good on paper but doesn't end the threat of an Iran with a nuclear weapon."
Turning back to the President's negative response to the invitation to Netanyahu – which has gone from frosty to outright hostile – Ayotte declared that the US-Israel alliance "extends beyond any one person."
Israel and America "share values, we share friendship, we share intelligence, we share the desire for a peaceful world where all human life is respected and people's rights are respected
"That is a bond that cannot be broken, and we will be together in ensuring that Iran does not have nuclear weapons capability and that the world is protected," she vowed.