Pelosi says Netanyahu speech could hurt Iran talks

Ben Sales

(JTA) — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming speech to a joint session of Congress could hurt ongoing negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Pelosi said the March 3 speech, which will focus on Iran’s nuclear ambitions, could lower the chances that the United States and world powers will reach an accord with Iran to limit the nuclear program, according to Reuters.

She also criticized the speech’s timing, coming two weeks before Israeli elections on March 17, and said the speech should have been ccordinated in advance with President Obama and Congressional leadership.

“Such a presentation could send the wrong message in terms of giving diplomacy a chance,” Pelosi said, according to Reuters. “It’s a serious big honor that we extend. That it should be extended two weeks before an election in the country without collaboration [with] the leaders in Congress and without collaboration with the White House is not appropriate.”