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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Tuesday, January 23, 2018

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Obama says nuclear deal not conditional to Iran recognizing Israel

The framework agreement requires Iran to reduce its nuclear capacity

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WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama has dealt a fresh setback to Israeli efforts in pressing their demand that a nuclear deal between world powers and Iran be predicated on Tehran recognizing Israel.

In a wide ranging interview with National Public Radio (NPR), Obama talked in detail about the nuclear pact the US and five world powers recently negotiated with Iran.

The framework agreement requires Iran to reduce its nuclear capacity in exchange for the lifting of some international sanctions.

The pact has been received with criticism by a majority of Congressional Republicans and the Israeli government who have stepped up their efforts to thwart the agreement.

But Obama has dismissed such criticism and rejected Israeli demands that Iran alter its regional and foreign policy and accept Israel's right to exist before world powers accept the deal.

"The notion that we would condition Iran not getting nuclear weapons in a verifiable deal on Iran recognizing Israel is really akin to saying that we won't sign a deal unless the nature of the Iranian regime completely transforms," Obama told NPR a privately and publicly funded non-profit membership media organization that serves as a national syndicator to a network of 900 public radio stations in the US.

"That is, I think, a fundamental misjudgment," he said. The interview was broadcast on Monday.

He however said that he was against the idea of Iran recognizing Israel. "It's completely reasonable and that's US policy."

Earlier Obama told the New York Times that the framework deal signed in Switzerland was the best option to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.

"What we will be doing even as we enter into this deal is sending a very clear message to the Iranians and to the entire region that if anybody messes with Israel, America will be there," Obama told The Times' Thomas Friedman.

Meanwhile, Ben Rhodes, the US deputy national security adviser for strategic communication, has said Obama would consider all of the options for response including military action in case Iran were to breach the agreement as Israel fears.

"If Iran violates all options are on the table," Rhodes said. "The president, this president or the next president, will have all options on the table including military one. If there is a violation, all options will be considered."> BNN

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