Obama says a vulnerable Israel would be ‘failure’ of his presidency
US President Barack Obama says he is not seeking to weaken Israel, adding a vulnerable Tel Aviv would be a failure of his presidency.
Obama made the remakes in a 45-minute video interview with New York Times journalist Thomas L. Friedman, a staunch supporter of Israel and its policies, on Saturday. The interview was posted on Sunday.
“I would consider it a failure on my part, a fundamental failure of my presidency, if on my watch or as a consequence of work that I’ve done, Israel was rendered more vulnerable,” Obama told Friedman.
Referring to the differences between Washington and Tel Aviv over the recent mutual understanding between the P5+1 and Iran over its nuclear energy program, Obama said Israel has reason to be concerned.
Obama said that no disagreements between Israel and the United States can break their mutual bond.
He also said that America’s defense of Israel is unshakable. He said the Switzerland understanding had a clear message that if anyone messes with Israel, America will be there.
Obama once again defended the understanding achieved on issues related to Iran’s nuclear program, calling it a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity”.
On Thursday, the P5+1 group – the US, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany – reached an outline of a potentially historic agreement with Iran over Tehran’s civilian nuclear work that would lift all international sanctions imposed against the Islamic Republic in exchange for certain steps Tehran will take with regard to its nuclear program.
Obama has hailed the “historic understanding” with Iran, saying that it paves the way for a final agreement in three months.
Israeli officials have called it a “historic mistake which will make the world far more dangerous.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told CNN on Sunday that the nuclear understanding reached in Switzerland last week was a “bad deal” which would endanger Tel Aviv’s survival.
“It doesn’t roll back Iran’s nuclear program. It keeps a vast nuclear infrastructure in place,” Netanyahu said. “Not a single centrifuge is destroyed. Not a single nuclear facility is shut down including the underground facilities….Thousands of centrifuges will keep spinning enriching uranium. That’s a bad deal.”