US President Barack Obama spoke to the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg at length, in an interview published on Thursday, regarding his views on Israel and the developing deal with Iran. “Look, 20 years from now, I’m still going to be around, God willing. If Iran has a nuclear weapon, it’s my name on this.”
The American president emphasized his stake in preventing Tehran from building a nuclear weapon to Goldberg. “I think it’s fair to say that in addition to our profound national-security interests, I have a personal interest in locking this down.”
In the wide-ranging interview to the Atlantic, Obama called Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei an “anti-Semite” and adamantly defended his support for Israel and American Jewry.
Turning to the regime in Iran, Obama said “the fact that you are anti-Semitic, or racist, doesn’t preclude you from being interested in survival… and so the fact that the supreme leader is anti-Semitic doesn’t mean that this overrides all of his other considerations.”
On his fractious relationship with Netanyahu, Obama told Goldberg that when Netanyahu said in the final days of his bid for reelection that “a Palestinian state would not happen under his watch, or (when) there was discussion in which it appeared that Arab-Israeli citizens were somehow portrayed as an invading force that might vote, and that this should be guarded against—this is contrary to the very language of the Israeli Declaration of Independence, which explicitly states that all people regardless of race or religion are full participants in the democracy.”
The US president explained that “when something like that happens, that has foreign-policy consequences, and precisely because we’re so close to Israel, for us to simply stand there and say nothing would have meant that this office, the Oval Office, lost credibility when it came to speaking out on these issues.”
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