From: Paul Conner [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Tuesday, March 03, 2015 2:37 PM
To: Allen, Jessica; Velz, Peter
Subject: In-town pool 2b: More on Iran/Netanyahu
More from the Oval Office pool spray with POTUS, Carter and Dempsey. POTUS's comments were forceful, and he leaned forward in his chair for all 11 minutes of remarks:
Again, check quotes. Pool is heading to East Room for next event.
"Keep in mind that when we came to the interim deal, Prime Minister Netanyahu made almost the precise same speech about how dangerous that deal was going to be. And yet over a year later, even Israeli intelligence officers and in some members of the Israeli government have acknowledged that in fact it has kept Iran from further pursuing a nuclear program," Obama said.
He continued: "The alternative [to Obama's plan] that the prime minister offers is no deal, in which case Iran would immediately begin once again pursuing its nuclear program without us having any insight into what they're doing, and without constraint. And his essential argument is that if we just double down on sanctions, then Iran won't want to do that. Well, we have evidence from the past decade that sanctions alone are not sufficient to prevent Iran from pursuing its nuclear ambitions, and if in fact it does not have some sense that sanctions will be removed, it will not have an interest in avoiding the path it is currently on."
"The bottom line is this: we don't yet have a deal. It may be that Iran cannot say yes to a good deal. I have repeatedly said that I would rather have no deal than a bad deal, but if we are successful in negotiating, then in fact this will be the best deal possible to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Nothing else comes close. Sanctions won't do it. Military action would not be as successful as the deal that we have put forward."
Obama took a question from AP's Julie Pace on the politics of Netanyahu's speech, and said to direct questions about opening the House chamber two weeks before the Israeli election to Speaker Boehner.
He said it's important not to politicize our relationship with Israel, and that "we have a system of government in which foreign policy runs through the executive branch and the president, not through other channels."
He also said that "what I'm focused on right now is solving this problem. I'm not focused on the politics of it ... and my strong suggestion would be that members of Congress ... stay similarly focused.
The Daily Caller