President Barack Obama told Jewish leaders on Tuesday that if the nuclear deal signed between world powers and Iran is rejected by Congress, the United States will be forced to attack Tehran, which will lead to Hezbollah retaliating with rockets on Tel Aviv.
“Israel would bear the brunt of a US military strike,” Obama told 22 American Jewish leaders from the Anti-Defamation League, Orthodox Union and J Street, and others, during a meeting at the White House.
The president asserted that if Congress votes against the agreement, the Islamic Republic will back out of it and he will then face pressure from those who oppose the deal to militarily strike Tehran.
“It would be destructive both to the US and to Israel,” Obama warned. “An American military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities will not end with Iran declaring war on us. Iran’s defense budget is $15 billion. The American defense budget is $600 billion. What Iran would do, and could do, is respond a-symmetrically by increasing its support of terrorism.”
“Hezbollah rockets will rain down on Tel Aviv,” he stressed.
While Iran won’t attack the United States directly, it could attack American targets across the world, or arming and funding its proxies on Israel’s borders, Obama said.
The president said he was willing to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss how to increase Israel’s security, “but he won’t meet with me.”
“Meeting me would be, for him, like waving a white flag, and Netanyahu wants us to keep fighting over the agreement,” Obama said. Obama is expected to meet with Netanyahu in the next two months, but not before the prime minister’s speech at the UN General Assembly meeting in New York in September.
The president’s meeting with Jewish leaders, held at the White House’s Cabinet Room on the president’s 54th birthday, was “serious” and “cordial” but at times “contentious,” according to some participants. Vice President Joe Biden, National Security Adviser Susan Rice, and Obama’s adviser Ben Rhodes were also present.
While admitting the agreement was “by no means perfect,” the president asserted it only had minor issues. “This deal is extremely good for national security of US and Israel as well,” he said. Read more at Ynet News Israel.