Photo Credit: White
U.S. President Barack Obama at White House press briefing.

Now, as a matter of policy, we think it’s a mistake for the prime minister of any country to come to speak before Congress a few weeks before they are about to have an election. It makes it look like we are taking sides.

REUTERS – But aside from that, what about that is destructive?


OBAMA – I’m answering your question, Jeff. And the concern is, not only does it look like it politicizes the relationship but what’s also a problem is when the topic of the prime minister’s speech is an area where the executive branch – the U.S. president and his team – have a disagreement with the other side.

“I think those who offered the invitation and some of the commentators who have said this is the right thing to do, it’s worth asking them whether, when George W. Bush had initiated the war in Iraq and Democrats were controlling Congress, if they had invited let’s say the president of France to appear before Congress to criticize or to air those disagreements, I think most people would say, well, that wouldn’t be the right thing to do. I guarantee you that some of the same commentators who are cheerleading now would have suggested that it was the wrong thing to do.

“I don’t think it’s permanently destructive. I think that it is a distraction from what should be our focus. And our focus should be,‘How do we stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon?’

“Now keep in mind the prime minister, when we signed up for this interim deal that would essentially freeze Iran’s program, roll back its highly enriched uranium – its 20 percent highly enriched uranium – and so reduce the possibility that Iran might breakout while we were engaged in these negotiations, when we first announced this interim a deal, Prime Minister Netanyahu made all sorts of claims. ‘This was going to be a terrible deal. This was going to result in Iran getting 50 billion dollars worth of relief. Iran would not abide by the agreement.’

“None of that has come true. It has turned out that, in fact, during this period we’ve seen Iran not advance its program. In many ways, it’s rolled back elements of its program.

“And we’ve got more insight into what they’re doing with more vigorous inspections than even the supporters of an interim deal suggested. (ed: italics added)

“So the question is this: If in fact we are trying to finalize a deal, why not wait to see, is there actually going to be a deal? Can Iran accept the terms that we’re laying out?

“If in fact Iran can accept terms that would ensure a one year breakout period for ten years or longer and during that period we know Iran is not developing a nuclear weapon – we have inspectors on the ground that give us assurances that they’re not creating a covert program (ed: italics added)– why would we not take that deal when we know the alternatives, whether through sanctions or military actions, will not result in as much assurance that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon?

“There’s no good reason for us not to let the negotiations play themselves out,” Obama maintained.

“Then we’ll show, here – here’s the deal that’s been negotiated, does it make sense? And I am confident that if, in fact, a deal is arrived at, then it’s going to be a deal that is most likely to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon,” the president said. But there’s a problem. Iran has not put all its cards on the table and right up to today, even the United Nations IAEA inspectors have no idea how far Iran’s nuclear technology has progressed. That’s because Iran is still hiding a lot of its nuclear activities, and has not allowed IAEA inspectors access to most of its sites. In fact, those inspectors have access to only TWO sites – Natanz and Fordow — out of the dozens that exist.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.