Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made a career out of sounding the alarm against Iran's existential nuclear threat to Israel ever since he first ran for prime minister in 1996.
Next Tuesday, the Israeli Leader is scheduled to address a joint session of the U.S. Congress where he will again voice his concerns about a deal being negotiated between Iran and six major international powers.
Though he is accused of crass politicking just two weeks before a hotly contested Israeli election, nothing is apparently going to stop Mr. Netanyahu from delivering his remarks. This includes alleged Mossad documents leaked by South Africa that indicate he exaggerated Iran's progress in building a bomb when he addressed the United Nations General Assembly in 2012.
Statements from the United States this week indicate that an international agreement with Iran over the peacefulness of its nuclear program is in the offing. But Israeli leaders said Tuesday that everything they hear about this pending deal makes Mr. Netanyahu more determined than ever to try to persuade U.S. legislators to reject it.
"The information that I have received over the last few days confirms many of our fears about the developing agreement between the powers and Iran," Mr. Netanyahu told reporters, referring to the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany. "This agreement, if signed, will allow Iran to become a nuclear threshold state."
"Meaning," he added, "Iran will get a licence to develop bombs – and this is a country which openly declares its intention to destroy the state of Israel.
"That is why I will go to Washington to speak before the U.S. Congress, because the U.S. Congress may be the last defence before an agreement between the powers and Iran," Mr. Netanyahu said.
In spite of the leaked cables questioning Mr. Netanyahu's timetable for Iran's nuclear program, Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicholson is doubling down on support for Israel.
Asked about the discrepancy on Tuesday, a spokeswoman for Mr. Nicholson said the federal government believes "every diplomatic step" should be taken to ensure Iran never obtains nuclear weapons.
"Iran has an appalling human-rights record, is a state sponsor of terrorism, and has long held nuclear ambitions," Johanna Quinney wrote in an e-mail. "Iran has repeatedly called for the destruction of our greatest ally in the Middle East, Israel."
Canada's sanctions against Iran will remain in place, Ms. Quinney added, "so long as the Iranian regime continues to threaten international peace and security."
At a Congressional hearing in Washington on Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who conducted the four days of talks with Iran in Geneva, showed his exasperation.
In a thinly veiled reference to Mr. Netanyahu, Mr. Kerry said: "Anybody running around right now jumping in to say, 'Well we don't like the deal,' or this or that, doesn't know what the deal is."
"There is no deal yet," he said. "And I caution people to wait and see what these negotiations produce."
A fear widely expressed in Washington and Jerusalem is that should Mr. Netanyahu in his address to Congress be seen to dictate what terms would be acceptable to Israel, Iran will never agree to such terms. Acceptance would appear as "capitulation to the 'Zionist entity,'" said veteran Israeli analyst Akiva Eldar.
Writing on the Al-Monitor media site, Tuesday, Mr. Eldar said that what happens in Washington next week is all about getting the Mr. Netanyahu re-elected. "Placing the Iranian issue at the top of the agenda through Netanyahu's performance in Congress is a recipe for increasing the number of Likud Party voters," he concludes.
Perhaps sensitive to a certain backlash against his appearance in Congress, the Israeli leader appealed this week to his chief political rival, Labour Leader Isaac Herzog, to accompany him to Washington and show that concern about the Iranian threat crosses party lines.
Mr. Herzog told journalists Tuesday he rejected the offer.
"Netanyahu's spin on the question of who's going to Washington has to stop," he said. "Every Israeli and American official – including the U.S. President," knows where the Prime Minister stands when it comes to Iran. He has voiced it "clearly and unequivocally."
Mr. Herzog said quite plainly that his "main mission" is to replace Mr. Netanyahu's government. At the moment, his party, combined with the smaller Hatnua party of Tzipi Livni, holds a small but steady lead in public opinion polls over the Prime Minister's Likud party.
There's no need for him to go to Washington, Mr. Herzog said. "I know how to make myself heard in a clear, influential way from here and not there," he told a Jerusalem news conference.