IRANIAN NUCLEAR DEAL Obama, Netanyahu make appeals to US Jews


Associated Press

WASHINGTON

President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made dueling appeals to the American Jewish community Tuesday as they sought to rally support for their opposing positions on the Iranian nuclear deal.

Obama met privately for more two hours with Jewish leaders at the White House, making a detailed case for the nuclear accord and urging opponents – including some in the room – to stick to the facts in making their own arguments, according to participants. He singled out the tens of millions of dollars being spent by critics, most notably the pro-Israel group American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

The president’s meeting came hours after Netanyahu participated in a live webcast aimed at Americans Jews. The prime minister railed against the agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for billions of dollars in sanctions relief, calling it a “bad deal” that leaves Tehran on the brink of a bomb.

“The nuclear deal with Iran doesn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb. It actually paves Iran’s path to the bomb,” Netanyahu said in his remarks. Organizers said about 10,000 people participated in the meeting.

Netanyahu, one of the fiercest critics of the nuclear accord, also disputed Obama’s assertion that opponents of the diplomatic deal favor war. He called that assertion “utterly false,” saying Israel wants peace, not war.

Participants in Obama’s meeting with Jewish leaders said attendees who oppose the deal raised with the president their concern over being painted as eager for war. They said while Obama appeared sympathetic to their concerns, he continued to argue that if Congress rejects the agreement, he or the next president would quickly face a decision on taking military action to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

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