Obama refused Israel’s demand that Iran be forced to recognize Israel before a nuclear deal is finalized, saying this was unrealistic.
US President Barack Obama has denied Israel’s request that a final deal with Tehran regarding its nuclear program be conditioned on Iran’s recognition of Israel, rejecting it as flawed judgment.
“The notion that we would condition Iran not getting nuclear weapons in a verifiable deal on Iran recognizing Israel is really akin to saying that we won’t sign a deal unless the nature of the Iranian regime completely transforms,” Obama told National Public Radio on Monday. “And that is, I think, a fundamental misjudgment.”
Obama said he was trying to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons “precisely because we can’t bank on the nature of the regime changing.”
Israeli officials oppose the framework nuclear agreement reached last week between US-led international negotiators and Iran. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the Islamic Republic has vowed to annihilate his country and, therefore, no deal should be struck until Iran recognizes Israel’s right to exist.
Obama indicated that this was unrealistic, likening it to Iran suddenly transforming itself into Germany or Sweden.
Responding to the framework agreement announced Thursday, Netanyahu issued a statement on Friday after an emergency cabinet meeting, saying that all, including the opposition, were united against the proposed deal.
“This deal would pose a grave danger to the region and to the world and would threaten the very survival of the State of Israel,” he stated.
“Iran is a regime that openly calls for Israel’s destruction and openly and actively works towards that end. Israel will not accept an agreement which allows a country that vows to annihilate us to develop nuclear weapons, period. Israel demands that any final agreement with Iran will include a clear and unambiguous Iranian recognition of Israel’s right to exist.”
Obama has categorically denied this demand.