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Both Obama and Netanyahu Grappling with Iran Dilemma

By    |   Tuesday, 03 March 2015 11:29 AM

The two distinct views of President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Iran are fueling the divide between the two nations' leaders.

According to The Washington Post, for Obama, striking a deal with Iran over its nuclear program is a fulfillment of a campaign promise that he could "engage in aggressive personal diplomacy" and alleviate sanctions if Iran promised to cooperate on its nuclear program, as well as on issues related to Iraq and terrorism, as he stated in a 2007 interview with The New York Times.

If successful in the current nuclear deal, the Post argues that Obama could possibly end the contention that exists between the United States and Iran, because the two countries have a lot in common otherwise.

"He might be the American president to go to Tehran the way Nixon went to China," the Post wrote.

From Netanyahu's perspective, if Iran's nuclear program is allowed to proceed, it will mean a well-armed enemy in its backyard, something he has warned against for his entire political life.

"I plan to speak about an Iranian regime that is threatening to destroy Israel, that’s devouring country after country in the Middle East, that’s exporting terror throughout the world and that is developing, as we speak, the capacity to make nuclear weapons," Netanyahu said Monday. "Lots of them."

Obama began negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program soon after he took office in 2009, around the same time that Netanyahu began his second term.

While the Israeli prime minister argues that the deal would put his country in great peril, the White House contends that it would actually make Israel and the neighboring countries much safer.

Easing economic sanctions for Iran and allowing it to continue to enrich uranium for its nuclear power plants puts Iran too close to being able to build a nuclear weapon, Netanyahu contends. His view is one that is also shared by many in Congress.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee on Monday that while Obama administration officials oppose Netanyahu's address to Congress,  they "believe firmly that Israel’s security and the U.S.-Israeli partnership transcends politics and always will."

Power also reiterated that even though the Obama administration is working on negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran, the use of military force is not off the table, if needed.

"Talks, no talks, agreement, no agreement, the United States will take whatever steps are necessary to protect our national security and that of our closest allies," she said.

"We believe diplomacy is the preferred route to secure our shared aim. But if diplomacy should fail, we know the stakes of a nuclear-armed Iran as well as everyone here. We will not let it happen."

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The two distinct views of President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Iran are fueling the divide between the two nations' leaders.
Barack Obama, Benjamin Netanyahu, Iran, uranium, sanctions
Tuesday, 03 March 2015 11:29 AM
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