Netanyahu accuses Iran of trying to 'conquer the entire Middle East' amid looming nuclear deal

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Sunday that Iran is trying to “conquer the entire Middle East” as the West appears close to signing a pending nuclear deal with Israel’s arch-enemy.

"This deal, as it appears to be emerging, bears out all of our fears, and even more than that," Netanyahu told his cabinet in Jerusalem, according to Reuters. The United States, Iran, and five other world powers are working toward a March 31 deadline to reach a nuclear deal.

The nations are meeting in Lusanne, Switzerland, and Netanyahu said he has “deep concern” over the pending deal.

Netanyahu added that he conveyed those fears to visiting American lawmakers, warning that the looming deal appears to "corroborate all our concerns and then some."

Netanyahu has been a fierce critic of American-led efforts to reach a nuclear deal with Iran and publicly has clashed with the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama over the issue.

Negotiators in the Swiss town of Lausanne are working on an initial agreement just three days before their self-imposed deadline.

"The Iran-Lausanne-Yemen axis is very dangerous for humanity and must be stopped," the Israeli premier said, referring to Iran's backing of Shiite rebels who have conquered most of Yemen.

“While [world powers] convene to sign this deal, Iran’s proxies in Yemen are conquering large swaths of land in an effort to overtake the Bab al-Mandab straits, so that they can change the balance of power in shipping oil,” Netanayhu added, according to the Times of Israel.

The West fears Iran's nuclear program will allow it to build an atomic bomb. Iran says its nuclear research is for peaceful purposes.

Netanyahu depicted Israel and Middle Eastern countries as unified in their view of Iran's involvement in the Yemen unrest as "a strategic move to dominate the region." He criticized continued negotiations with Iran at a time when "Iran is rampaging through Yemen," saying that "talks continue as usual and go on, on a deal that from everything that we hear paves Iran's way to the bomb."

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said Iran was responsible for the fall of the pro-Western government in Yemen, and "instead of punishing it for that, Iran is getting a prize" with the negotiations.

"The West is allowing Iran through the front door of the family of nations," Yaalon said.

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, heading a delegation of U.S. senators visiting Israel, said the delegation supported legislation to require Congress to approve any agreement on Iran's nuclear program, or to increase sanctions on Iran if no agreement is reached.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.