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‘If Khamenei could, he would inflict great harm on Israel,’ Obama says…but who cares, the Iranian Deal is still on


Nonetheless, the president told ‘The New Yorker’ that the Iranian government’s behavior was not as extreme as its rhetoric suggests.

In his latest attempt to sell the public on the merits of the Iran nuclear agreement, US President Barack Obama told an American news magazine earlier this week that he was not naive about the threats against Israel made by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Islamic Republic’s supreme leader.

“His ideology is steeped with anti-Semitism, and if he could, without catastrophic costs, inflict great harm on Israel, I’m confident that he would,” Obama told journalist Robin Wright of The New Yorker.

Nonetheless, the president said that the Iranian government’s behavior was not as extreme as its rhetoric suggests.

“It is possible for leaders or regimes to be cruel, bigoted, twisted in their world views and still make rational calculations with respect to their limits and their self-preservation,” Obama told The New Yorker. “And what we’ve seen, at least since 1979, is Iran making constant, calculated decisions that allow it to preserve the regime, to expand their influence where they can, to be opportunistic, to create what they view as hedges against potential Israeli attack, in the form of Hezbollah and other proxies in the region.”

In the interview, Obama denied that the nuclear agreement negotiated by his administration with Iran is a radical shift in US policy toward the Islamic Republic.

“This does not represent a strategic rapprochement between the United States and Iran,” the president said. “This is a hardheaded, clear-eyed, calculated decision to take—to seize our best opportunity to lock down the possibility of Iran getting a nuclear weapon.”


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