“I think he [Netanyahu] is creating a bar for this negotiation that has never existed,” Murphy said. “We didn’t impose these sanctions to force Iran to start being a better actor within the region, we imposed them to stop its nuclear program from going forward.”
A critical element of the Iran nuclear talks have included offers of sanctions relief in exchange for verification that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons capabilities.
Murphy agreed with the Israeli Prime Minister that he “abhors” certain Iranian activities in the region, but he argued that curbing those activities was not the purpose of the ongoing P5+1 negotiations on Iran’s nuclear weapons program or the sanctions imposed by Congress against Iran.
“We all want to do everything possible to stop Iran’s support of terrorism and to stop their incendiary rhetoric on Israel, but we also need to understand why we put the sanctions into place,” Murphy said. “We imposed them to stop [Iran’s] nuclear program from going forward.”
In his Tuesday speech, Netanyahu urged Congress not to accept a “bad deal” with Iran, arguing that a deal that leaves Iran’s nuclear program in tact threatens the existence of Israel.
Members of the US administration and the P5+1 representatives continued negotiating the framework for a comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran in Geneva on Monday, with political discussions continuing throughout the week.