(JTA) – U.S. President Barack Obama said there was “nothing new” in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to the U.S. Congress.
He also said that Netanyahu “didn’t offer any viable alternatives” to the nuclear agreement currently being discussed with Iran by the world powers, on Tuesday from the Oval Office, in a transcript released by the White House.
Obama said that he did not watch the speech since he was on a video conference when it took place, but that he “did have a chance to take a look at the transcript.”
“The prime minister appropriately pointed out that the bond between the United States of America is unbreakable, and on that point I thoroughly agree. He also pointed out that Iran has been a dangerous regime and continues to engage in activities that are contrary to the interests of the United States, to Israel, and to the region. And on that, we agree. He also pointed out the fact that Iran has repeatedly threatened Israel and engaged in the most venomous of anti-Semitic statements. And no one can dispute that,” Obama said.
“But on the core issue, which is how do we prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, which would make it far more dangerous and would give it scope for even greater action in the region, the prime minister didn’t offer any viable alternatives,” he said.
Obama pointed out that during the period of negotiations Iran has frozen its nuclear program and “rolled back some of its most dangerous highly enriched uranium, and subjected itself to the kinds of verifications and inspections that we had not previously seen.”
If no deal is signed then “Iran will immediately begin once again pursuing its nuclear program, accelerate its nuclear program, without us having any insight into what they’re doing, and without constraint,” the president said.
Obama called on Congress and Netanyahu to “wait until there’s actually a deal on the table that Iran has agreed to, at which point everybody can evaluate it; we don’t have to speculate. And what I can guarantee is that if it’s a deal I’ve signed off on, I will be able to prove that it is the best way for us to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.”