President Barack Obama is insisting he has a “personal interest” in making sure a nuclear deal with Iran is effective.
In a new interview with The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg published Thursday, Obama said his legacy is on the line when it comes to Iran. The president pointed out he’s likely going to be around if the deal goes awry in the next decade or two.
“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,” Obama said. “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.”
Obama’s administration is negotiating a controversial agreement with Iran in which the country would curb its ability to produce nuclear weapons in exchange for the US and other powers rolling back economic sanctions. Prominent critics have repeatedly argued Iran is not a trustworthy partner and the deal would leave Israel vulnerable to a nuclear attack from the Iranian regime.
The president himself has said “we don’t trust” Iran, but in the interview with Goldberg, Obama defended his ability to negotiate with them in spite of this. Indeed, Obama suggested the country’s leaders could be rational despite “the fact” that they are anti-Semitic and biased against Israel.
“Well the fact that you are anti-Semitic, or racist, doesn’t preclude you from being interested in survival. It doesn’t preclude you from being rational about the need to keep your economy afloat; it doesn’t preclude you from making strategic decisions about how you stay in power; and so the fact that the supreme leader is anti-Semitic doesn’t mean that this overrides all of his other considerations,” Obama said.
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