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Netanyahu urges U.S. to hold out for a better Iran deal

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem July 19, 2015. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged U.S. lawmakers to hold out for a better Iran deal and said there was no way to compensate Israel if the nuclear agreement goes through.

“I think the right thing to do is merely not to go ahead with this deal. There are many things to be done to stop Iran’s aggression and this deal is not one of them,” Netanyahu said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” as he continued a string of U.S. media interviews denouncing the deal reached on Tuesday between Iran and six major powers.

The deal must be reviewed by Congress, where lawmakers will have up to 82 days to decide whether to reject it.

The Israeli prime minister believes that the nuclear agreement reached in Vienna to curb Iran’s nuclear program does not prevent but only puts off Iran from becoming a nuclear armed nation, and that relaxing the strict sanctions regime gives it billions of dollars to do so.

Netanyahu says he felt obligated to speak out because the deal endangers his country, the region and the world and there was no way Israel could feel safe if it takes effect.

In dueling appearances on Sunday television news shows, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz defended the agreement they spent years negotiating as the best hope for peace as well as a verifiable way of making sure Iran does not obtain a nuclear bomb.

President Barack Obama has promised to exercise his veto if Congress rejects the deal. Overriding the veto will require a two-thirds majority of both the House of Representatives and Senate, so the administration is working to win over enough of Obama’s fellow Democrats to offset strong Republican opposition.

Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Ros Russell