(JTA) – U.S. President Barack Obama said he does not remember a time when a foreign leader interfered in a U.S. foreign policy debate the way Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has over the Iran nuclear deal.
“On the substance, the prime minister is wrong on this,” Obama told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria in an interview conducted Aug. 6 but aired three days later. “I think that I can show that the basic assumptions that he’s made are incorrect.
“If in fact my argument is right, that this is the best way for Iran not to get a nuclear weapon, then that’s not just good for the United States. That is very good for Israel,” he said.
Obama said that if Israel were attacked by Iran, “We would do everything we needed to do to ensure Israel is protected. I’ve acted on the basic notion that our commitment to Israel’s security is sacrosanct.”
The president also said that although he believes the deal is “very good” for Israel, “I can understand why the Israeli public is suspicious and cautious about the deal.”
Obama said of the current fight in the U.S. Congress over the deal that “I don’t intend to lose on this.” He also asserted that a successful deal could open discussions on other issues with Iran.