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Obama Says Iran Nuclear Deal Relies On Verification, Not Trust

  • RFE/RL

U.S. President Barack Obama (file photo)

U.S. President Barack Obama (file photo)

U.S. President Barack Obama has sought to reassure the Jewish-American community about a landmark nuclear agreement with Iran during a webcast with Jewish organizations.

"We don't trust Iran,” Obama said on August 28 at the White House. “But this deal doesn't rely on trust. It relies on verification."

Under the July 14 agreement between Tehran and world powers, U.S., EU, and UN sanctions will be gradually lifted in return for Iran imposing curbs on its nuclear activities, which the West suspects are aimed at making an atomic bomb.

Obama acknowledged that Israel's government opposes the agreement, but stressed that does not impact U.S. support for Israel.

“The commitment to Israel is sacrosanct,” he said.

He also said that when it comes to the debate on the nuclear agreement, it is important to remember that “we’re all pro-Israel and we’re all family.”

Obama added that he expects improvements in the relationship between the United States and Israel to come "pretty quick" once the Iran nuclear deal comes into force.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been one of the most outspoken critics of the nuclear agreement while warning that the deal could threaten the survival of Israel.

Obama said he understands the concerns over the agreement with Iran.

“When you have a regime that denies the Holocaust, that’s going to make you worried,” he said. “You have to take that seriously, so I recognize where the anxiety comes from. “

“It’s important for us to remember that the bonds that holds us together go beyond this particular issue,” he added.

The president also said the United States is “not giving up” its ability to use military force or sanctions against Iran if the Islamic republic does not implement the terms of the agreement.

He also said that the United States will keep countering Iran's "destabilizing activities" in the region.

"We have to stop Iran from getting missiles to Hizbullah that threaten Israel. We have to stop their destabilizing activities using proxies in other parts of the region," Obama said.

Obama’s conversation with Jewish leaders is part of the efforts by the U.S. administration to sell the deal to skeptics and to Congress, which has until September 17 to approve or reject the deal.

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