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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Obama: Netanyahu cannot stop Iran deal

US president says PM will not succeed in using Congress to defeat the deal; Kerry: Israel 'is safer' thanks to agreement, noting critics of deal 'never offer a realistic alternative'.

US President Barack Obama on Tuesday defended the agreement reached with Iran over its nuclear program, making it clear that the purpose of the deal was simply to prevent the Islamic Republic from attaining nuclear weapons – not to curb its global power.

Congress still needs to sign off on the deal, which could result in a fierce battle in the legislature. In an exclusive New York Times interview, Obama said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “perhaps thinks he can further influence the congressional debate" but that he was confident the agreement would be approved.

Barack Obama with Vice President Barack Obama announcing the deal (Photo: Reuters)

"But after that’s done, if that’s what he thinks is appropriate, then I will sit down, as we have consistently throughout my administration, and then ask some very practical questions: How do we prevent Hezbollah from acquiring more sophisticated weapons? How do we build on the success of Iron Dome, which the United States worked with Israel to develop and has saved Israeli lives?

"In the same way I’m having conversation with the gulf countries about how do we have a more effective interdiction policy, how do we build more effective governance structures and military structures in Sunni areas that have essentially become a void that (the Islamic State) has filled or that, in some cases, Iranian activities can exploit?”

The White House on Tuesday announced that Obama would send Defense Secretary Ash Carter to the Middle East next week. The only confirmed stop on the trip was Israel, although officials said Carter would also visit other countries in the region.

US Secretary of State John Kerry lashed out at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday night, saying the Israeli leader's claims about the deal were "way over the top."

Credit to Ynetnews.com

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