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The Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings hosted its 10th annual Saban Forum, with remarks by U.S. President Barack Obama.

Watch the video starting at minute 8:56



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President Obama sharply criticized as not viable a number of Israeli government postures on talks with Iran, but reasserted the military option should those talks fail.

In a wide-ranging talk with Haim Saban, the entertainment mogul who funds the annual Saban Forum in Washington, Obama took aim at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s claims that increased pressure during the interim talks would extract greater concessions from Iran, and anticipated a final deal that would grant Iran some uranium enrichment capabilities.

Alluding to the view of Netanyahu and a number of lawmakers in Congress, Obama said, “what this comes up down to is the perception that if we kept churning up the pressure, new sanctions, more sanctions, more military threats etc, that eventually Iran would cave.”

Instead, Obama said, that would likely drive away allies who have helped keep up the pressure on Iran through U.S.-led sanctions.

Obama outlined U.S. red lines in a final agreement, including the dismantling of the plutonium reactor at Arak and the underground nuclear reactor at Fordow, as well as advanced centrifuges.

However, he made clear an enrichment program would remain in place that would ensure that “as a practical matter, they don’t have a breakout capacity.”

That, Obama acknowledged, contradicted Netanyahu’s objective that “we can’t accept any enrichment on Iranian soil, full stop.”

Israel’s government believes that Iran has been allowed to advance its nuclear capability to the point where even a modest enrichment capability positions it dangerously close to weapons breakout capacity.

Demanding no enrichment, Obama said, was unrealistic, likening it to his believing Congress would pass every one of his legislative initiatives.

The Iranians needed to come to a deal that would afford them some “dignity,” he said, and alluded to broad popular support for some enrichment capacity.

Obama said that he did not trust Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s newly elected president, but noted that he was elected on a platform of reaching out to the West.

Again alluding to a Netanyahu claim, he said that those who say Rouhani is not different from his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadeinjad, a Holocaust denier and anti-Israel maximalist, “understate the shift in politics” in Iran.

Obama twice said that he would reassert the military option should talks fail with Iran.

“I’ve made clear I can avail myself of including a military option, is one we can consider and prepare for,” he said.

He emphatically rejected hard lines in dealing with other countries. “Wherever we see the impulses of a people to move away from conflict and violence and toward a diplomatic resolution of conflict we should be ready to engage them,” he said. “We have to not constantly assume that it’s not possible for Iran like any country to change over time.”

Obama said he had a good, open relationship with Netanyahu. “There are occasionally significant tactical differences, but there is a constancy in trying to reach the same goal,” he said of the relationship.

Addressing renewed Israeli-Palestinian talk,s Obama said mediation is currently focused on addressing Israeli security needs, and appeared to back away from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s insistence that the sides achieve a final status agreement next year.

An agreement, he said, need not address “every detail” but is one that “gets us to a moment that gets us to move forward than move backward.”

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108 COMMENTS

  1. Once again an incredible example of presidential blindness. I really believe that the election of a new Iranian president reflected the will of the people and suddenly, the Ayatollahs and the Revolutionary Guard have lost their control of policies. Obama did not demand an end to Iranian state sponsored anti-Semitism or calls for the destruction of Israel which is a clear violation and prosecutable act as defined by the UN Declaration on Genocide of 1948, of which Iran and the US are signatories. As for believing in any red line that Obama issues…well, he is probably color blind. Tell that to the dead and wounded of Syria. Simpler just to rename the president as President Chamberlain. He certainly is living up to his oath of office. What I don't understand is how if, the majority of Americans believe Obama is a liar and do not trust him, they are not demanding his impeachment and removal from office. His policies are dangerous for us and our allies and represent modern day appeasement.

  2. A lie is deceitful. Can you explain when he was deliberately deceitful? Do not confuse that you may have a difference of opinion with President Obama to mean he is Lying! If you really want to know what Lying is, simply take a look at the republicans, they Lie about everything and I do mean everything.

  3. Edward Lobel Policy paying off well in Syria, Libya and with ending Iranian support for their Hamas and Hezbollah and Syrian proxies. Ask the Saudi Arabians and other Sunnis how well Obama's and Kerry's strategies are paying off. Especially when a nuclear arms race is set off in the Mid East. Of course, with his Administration being the most open we all have a clear idea of what his plans and strategies are. Right?

  4. Edward Lobel Lets see. Demonstrators attacking American diplomats in Libya was due to an internet tape. With the Affordable Care Act you can keep your doctor, maintain your chosen plan and your costs won't go up. Then there is the IRS targeting groups and individuals who don't agree with his policies; ignoring Federal law and the will of Congress by making arbitrary changes in the ACA and immigration laws; making recess appointments when Congress was still in session; lying about his connections with Bill Ayres (just ask him). You obviously are living in an imaginary world where the Great Leader can do no wrong.

  5. Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg : "THE LIBERAL RABBIS ARE TRYING EVERYTHING TO SILENCE ME. PLEASE MAKE CERTAIN THIS IS SEEN EVERYWHERE. I WAS KICKED OFF THE CONSERVATIVE RABBIS LIST SERV. FOR ATTACKING OBAMA AND RABBIS FOR OBAMA WHO HELPED PUT HIM IN OFFFICE. THIS MUST GO VIRAL. RABBI ROSENBERG"

    Video message to Obama on Iran deal, by Rabbi Rosenberg:

    Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg SAYS: President Obama- You Have Some Nerve. ISRAEL Will Not LISTEN To You :

    Trying to speak to Roosevelt behind closed doors didn't help the Jews of Europe, 6,000,000 Jews were slaughtered, murdered, burned, vanished!

    Speak Up! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ig8c795KymA#t=63

  6. The Islamic Republic of Iran is an existential to our planet and in particular, non-muslims. Negotiations are doomed to failure when dealing with this modern-day Evil Empire…Wake up, Chairman Obama

  7. Edward Lobel , you are correct. I am an idiot to even waste my time with you. Please explain what we have accomplished with the deal we have made with Iran? They have done nothing different since this was announced. By the way Obama's name is Barack Hussein.

  8. Dennis R. Laffer Only republican/tpart idiots want war is Syria and not real Americans! When President Obama let NATO include U.S. planes to be included in the attack on Lybia, the repubs/tp went ballistic calling President Obama a war hunger liar. Now when he doesn't want to use force in Syria the POS/tp are accusing him of being scared. Well which is it? a war monger or a coward? Do not confuse repub/tp politics with what is correct.

    I do not trust the Saudis with anything. They were responsible for almost all the people involved in 9/11 plus they are the ones setting up, all over the word muslim schools which teach nothing but hate and destruction of Israel. These same Saudis were kissing buddies with both Bushes – so do not give me that nonsense about how well they like President Obama and Sec of State John Kerry.

  9. I do believe that even if you were in the hospital delivery room in Hawaii when Barak Obama was born and saw the actual delivery, you would still not believe he was born in the United States. Let me ask you a simple question related to this subject: Do you believe that Raphael Eduardo Cruz is eligible to become President of the United States?

  10. You continue to show your hatred and ignorance by wanting so badly to say that President Obama lied, that you confuse the truth with nonsense! Why do you think it is President Obama's fault that people are dying in Syria? You hate him because he did not demand that Iran announce that they will no longer be anti Israel or believe that the Holocaust was real? This is not his responsibility to rule over and if he did , then you would be complaining that he is overstepping his bounds and should be impeached.

    You show your ignorance by saying because he doesn't agree with you he should be impeached. If he had indeed violated any of the rules set down in the U.S. Constitution the POS would have impeached him a long time ago and stop using the b/s that the senate would not remove him from office.

  11. Edward Lobel LOOK anything NOW is possible for America, BUT "NOT" BY THE PEOPLE!
    AMERICA HAS 2 entirely different ENTITIES, the corrupt government and then we have THE GOOD PEOPLE, VOICELESS at the moment! PERIOD!!

  12. Edward Lobel Ah, you are such a typical left winger liberal.
    1. You avoid the important issues of Libya, the IRS, Obama's support of the Muslim Brotherhood, etc. Forgot to mention the Fast and Furious coverup.
    2. You ignore the threat that a militant, let alone a nuclear armed Iran, poses to the Middle East and the world.
    3. You ignore the Iranian use of proxies around the world that have result in thousands of deaths.
    4. You ignore the multiple "red lines" that Obama had and continues to have drawn in the sand but never acts upon. Such indecision diminishes the appearance of American resolve.
    5. You ignore the secret negotiations between the US and Kerry that excluded the neighboring Sunni allies, Israel and Europe and the formulation of a deal that still allows enrichment. What did the world gain from such a deal. It seems to me to be another example of short sighted appeasement.
    5. I love how those on the left conflate "hatred" of Obama with criticism of his policies. Surprised you have not yet labeled me a racist.
    6. You ignore his violation of the Constitution by arbitrarily rewriting laws that were passed by Congress and signed by the President. Only Congress has the power to amend laws. Constitutional law 101.
    6. You ignore the fact that Iran, like the Palestine Authority, and Syria, and Hamas, and Hezbollah violate the UN Convention on the Prevention of Genocide which states that any individual or nation that promotes genocide is guilty of the crime of genocide and subject to prosecution. That fact that iran et al has not just indicates the worthlessness of the UN.
    7. If you bothered to carefully read what I wrote I never mentioned the Holocaust or Holocaust denial, which should always be condemned.
    8. No where did i use the word impeach but if the shoe fits…
    9. For your general knowledge, it is the House that has to file Articles of Impeachment and it is the Senate that conducts the trial.
    10. So continue to live in your little circumscribed world and ignore the nuclear arms race that is looming on the horizon in the Mid East and sleep well at night alongside your framed picture of the President who will be there to protect you from harm.

  13. Edward Lobel If you are denying that Obama, Clinton, the UN Rep. did not claim that the attack in Libya was not the result of an internet tape then you, are, in my diagnosis, delusional. The events were being watched in real time. Your ideology and worship of the Great Leader has blinded to the realities of our time. Such a shame.

  14. Joseph Sanchez I did mean to imply that his agenda is that of the average American citizen. His agenda appears to be his own and is fellow ideological travelers. Wonder if there is a secret puppet master behind the proverbial curtain.

  15. Edward Lobel By the way. Nothing I can do or say can make Obama look bad. When over sixty percent of the public believe he is a liar and cannot be trusted then I don't need to say a thing.

  16. Dennis R. Laffer Rightly so OBAMA is bad! The Affordable Care Act, what a joke!! If you are sick you are REJECTED! So what kind of joke health care act is that? If you are poor you need not apply! AMERICA is DIVIDED by the GOVERNMENT LOVERS (FOOLS) and then we have THE GOOD HARD WORKING PEOPLE THAT OBAMA IS DESTROYING!

  17. Joseph Sanchez I believe that the ACA is just a step in the direction of forcing a one-payer system imposed by and managed by the government. There is rationing of care already underway in the US (insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid, state plans, etc) but it will be much worse when federal bureaucrats, who are not physicians, will be making the decisions. Quality is certain to decline. As for America being "dirty" I think that is a bit extreme. America is made up of multiple groups with different cultures, ethnicities, religious beliefs, and what not. Our image is, to a large extent, the manifestation of our leadership. If this is flawed, corrupt and ineffectual then it can only make our collective image appear negative. Maybe it is time for term limits that can be applied to both parties.

  18. Edward Lobel It means that Obama promoted the accession to power of the Muslim Brotherhood, an anti-Western, anti-American, anti-Christian, anti-Semitic group that calls for the destruction of Israel, was allied with the Nazis during the war, anti-women's and gay rights and which gave birth to Hamas and Hezbollah. He has called for the current Egyptian government to share power with the MB. How that relates to the last election is beyond my comprehension. Also, I have not indicated anywhere to which party i belong or how I voted. So keep making things up as you go.

  19. Do you practice being stupid or were you born that way!
    He won his first election handily and his second election by a landslide both by actual number of votes and by having 50% more electorial votes! You hate the president and that is the only reason you said what you did!

  20. Joseph Sanchez you are not correct about only got knows the truth. There is one key factor in determining if you are a Jew and that is if your mother is a Jew. My ancestry dates back to Moses brother Aaron and on both sides of my family my grandmothers and great grandmother were Jewish. On both sides of my family the menare Cohanim, I'm pretty sure I am a Jew!

  21. Edward Lobel Oh what can I say? So who is his the puppet master? You seem to have the answer. I was waiting for you to call me a racist even though I never said anything derogatory about race. Seems when you and most far left liberals run out of arguments and can not engage in any intelligent discourse (I know this is a big word for you) you have to bring out the race card and label everyone who disagrees with Obama and his policies as a hate filled bigot. Neither did I say anywhere that Obama was not the president. Again another example of your confabulating (I know another big word)I really think that you could benefit from some counseling Paranoia can be troublesome.

  22. Dennis R. Laffer Was it a free democratic election? The people spoke. Just because you (and I do not like the outcome) that is not Obama;s fault. It took awhile but with Americas backing we were
    able to overthrow the muslim brotherhood

  23. Alice Richardson Grimes the possibility of the American people actually understand what he stands for and that is what they wanted. If freedom, honesty and integrity are something you think are dark then you have more serious problems to deal with!

  24. Dennis R. Laffer I suppose you also believe that there was massive fraud in both elections that Obama won. Further more just because you say something doesn't make it correct. On the other hand, my statements are supported by real facts, not the facts you get from the POS, fox, Raphael Eduardo Cruz, and any number of idiotic repubs from texas.

  25. Arab Obama represents his arab rogues and is a traitor to this country and all who served it and those US diplomats who were imprisoned by iran and now the jailors who did not respect internatonal embassy's became friends to Obama. Shameful! hOW MUCH DID Obama COLLECT IN THE IRANIAN BAKSHEESH?

  26. Edward Lobel Were there accusations of fraud in the US elections? Yes. Did the New Black Panther intimidate voters? Yes. Did I say what party i belong too? No. Unlike you I can back up my statements and not have to resort to such intellectual words as "idiot" (which seems to be your favorite word) and "stupid" or were you there? You don't bother to address any of the points I or others have made but continue to act the role of the blowhard who has nothing intelligent to add. So continue to believe in the nefarious right-wing conspiracy, and ignore the realities of the real world and continue to believe in your Obama cult of personality.

  27. Sientje Seinen Just because he believes in a woman's right to choice to control her own body does not mean he is evil, it simply means that a woman can make up her own mind. I think people like you who want to take away other peoples freedoms have no right to complain about anything!

  28. May the bastard stay in South Africa along with his like-minded ANC-SACP buddies.

    A President would have at least demanded the destruction of the centrifuges but NOT this anti-Semitic Kenyan prick who demands that Jews leave their own land – but can't tell a terrorist nation to remove its instruments of destruction."

    Sod Obama…and sod Mandela too – two Anti-Semites of Color who prefer those who'd enslave them over those who'd save their sorry asses.

  29. Edward Lobel Yes, we hate that anti-Semite bastard because that is exactly what he is, an anti-Semite bastard – and DAMN LIAR.
    And if you can't handle that you stupid, self-hating , go bugger off in Gaza, or better yet the Tehran he appeases at the expense of Israel – and our own National Security.

    If Obama was a Nazi you'd vote for him anyway. Oh wait, you already did, you stupid .

  30. Edward Lobel, you are a Jew in DNA ONLY. You do not have the heart of a Jew. I say to you…SHEMA ISRAEL…Deut 6:4-9…that's the heart of a true Jew. You'd better duck fella!!! You just said the LORD GOD did not know the TRUTH…LOL!!! GOD is TRUTH.

  31. HAD IT NOT BEEN FOR THE "OIL"! America would have never ever stepped foot in the mid east! AMERICA is not interested in SAND nor POVERTY or any of your personal issues! AMERICA doesn't even care about it's own people! WHERE ever there is "OIL" there you will find THE GREEDY, "DIRTY"AMERICAN GOVERNMENT USING AMERICA AS A WHOLE! AMERICA STANDS DIVIDED,

  32. Edward Lobel Let me ask you this, HOW MANY JEWS has GOD slain and HOW many has he loved??? I can not speak as a JEW because I am not and this is true, BUT as a CHRISTIAN, A brother to you in the EYES OF OUR LORD, I will say that NOT every CHRISTIAN is a GOOD CHRISTIAN! I honestly believe that this is a mutual problem for ALL!

  33. Edward Lobel GET RID OF THE "OIL" IN THE MID EAST AND YOU WILL GET RID OF AMERICA! PLAIN AND SIMPLE! AS long as there is "OIL" AMERICA will be there, but, not one minute more/longer!

  34. Edward Lobel The average American voters vote is not even acknowledge. The truth is out there. WHO IN THERE RIGHT MIND WOULD HAVE VOTED FOR SUCH A PIECE OF CRAP! And believe me there will be more to come, at that point you will know that I WAS RIGHT!

  35. Obama doesn't just hate America, but hates Israel, too. Obama's domestic policy is to destroy America. His foreign policy is to destroy Israel. Hopefully we will survive his plans to take us down.

  36. Edward Lobel That's right, smear Cruz, you stupid .

    And why? Maybe it is BECAUSE he is more pro-Israel and pro-Jew than your little Kenyan sack o' immature and incompetent . Maybe it is BECAUSE he doesn't lie to us on a non-stop basis. Maybe it is because he would NEVER have appeased Iran allowing them to keep their centrifuges and their reactors.

    Tell you what, Lobel. You and your friends who voted for the worst occupant of Lincoln's home in our history go and back your bags and move to Tehran…Please take your Kenyan Jew-baiting, America-hating baboon with you, for honestly you will not be missed – and you Lobel, deserve to live amongst YOUR Moslem friends – because you are NOT one of us.

  37. A STAGED EVENT and SHAMEFUL SABAN is a LOSER(with his BILLIONS, he's a poor Jewish SELLout of a soul, all for TAX EXEMPTIONS of sorts! This is BS.)
    JOSEPH…spot on! (and it was recently discovered that Israel is sitting on the LARGEST deposit of NATURAL GAS in the ME<outside Saudi Arabia, and IS & SA secretly speak ,cause IRAN is an EQUAL threat to both, for diff. reasons.> ) And about the division…WE must KEEP the FAITH, cause G-d runs the world!Who would ever imagine IS & SA working together(it's not a LOVE relationship, but mutual respect of sorts, and goals!)

  38. Edward Lobel: In his narration of his own autobiography obama shared that he had memorized verses from the vile mohammed's koran/would recite them to adoring crowds on street corners of both Kenya/indonesia where he grew up.
    Take a good look @ his DOCTORED birth certificae (and I am not a Birther…)
    BTW, you are NOT a gentleman.

  39. Sientje Seinen God will judge you not on what you say but what you do! If you do not want an abortion, by all means do not have one, BUT under NO circumstances do you think you should take away the freedom from someone who wants or needs one!

  40. Geri Levine Liberals are indeed thinkers. Conservatives simply want to go back and make things the way they were. It was Liberals who gave us the United States, conservatives still wanted to have the English king rule over them. You need to not only know what you are talking about but how to say it!

  41. Sorry to disappoint you Dixie Vangelisti, but I am more of a good Jew than you will ever know. Just because I do not agree with haters and bigots, does not mean anything other than I do not agree with them. I donate time and money to support Israel and fully understand why evangelicals support Israel. I believe a negotiated agreement to settle the Iraqi problem is a whole lot better than getting thousands if not millions of Israelis and Americans killed in a war.

  42. Alan Rockman you are indeed an ignorant idiot who has to resort to calling people asses and s because you cannot accept that you are an ignorant idiot who has failed to be a good Jew. In the end, you will never get to the promised land and god will never accept you into his flock because of what you think and what and how you say it.

  43. Dennis R. Laffer you are simply repeating the POS line of we hate Obama and everything he does.

    He NEVER blamed the Benghazi problem on the internet. He was NOT responsible for the disaster that was Benghazi and if he had done anything illegal about it the POS would have already impeached him!

    The same goes for bombing Libya. Our troops NEVER entered Libya (although he has the legal authority to send them and to order them to fight,) He was legally allowed to have our NATO air force be part of the bombing of Libya no matter what you think.

    He had nothing to do with a "rouge irs agent" doing what he did and furthermore it was proven that this agent did not limit their findings to just tea party organizations but is what I would call an equal opportunity idiot and applied the misinterpretation to all non profits.

    Obama did not support the muslim brotherhood, but supported the outcome of the free election. he was not happy about the results. It's sort of like the repub s/tp not supporting Obama after his election!

    Re; Fast and Furious what you are saying is simply not the truth and just a repub/tp talking point!

    Re: Iran, I care very much about this but unlike you, I am willing to try negotiating. If the negotiating with verification works, that's a whole lot better than getting millions of Americans and Israelis killed. Don't worry, we still have the capability to blow them back to the stone ages if they do not comply and President Obama has the balls to do it!

    The rest of you list is simply more nonsense and not worthy of any more responses. You need to have your own thoughts and stop repeating the lunacy of fox and the ultra right wing od the POS

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