Israel will be hit if US attacks Iran: Obama

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama has warned American Jewish leaders that Tel Aviv would be struck in case of a US military strike against Iran, urging them not to sabotage the nuclear agreement.

“Israel would bear the brunt of a US military strike” against Iran, Obama told leaders of major Jewish organizations in the US, who were present at a meeting in the White House on Tuesday.

The meeting was part of an effort by the Obama administration to gain support for the agreement reached between Iran and the P5+1 group — the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany – in the Aus-trian capital of Vienna on July 14.

The chairman of the National Jewish Democratic Council, Greg Rosen-baum, who was one of 20 leaders who met with Obama, told Israel Radio on Wednesday that the president warned them rockets would possibly fall on Tel Aviv if a nuclear agreement with Iran was blocked.

“He [Obama] said military action by the United States against Iran’s nuclear facilities is not going to result in Iran deciding to have a full-fledged war with the United States,” Rosenbaum quoted Obama as saying in the meeting.

Despite criticisms, President Obama has repeatedly insisted that diplomacy works better than military action regarding Iran’s nuclear program. 

However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has strongly opposed the July 14 agreement.

On Tuesday, Netanyahu tried to convince the leaders of the Jewish com-munity that the nuclear agreement “paves Iran’s path to the bomb.”

“This is a time to stand up and be counted. Oppose this dangerous deal,” Netanyahu said in a webcast organized by Jewish groups in North America.

“I don’t oppose this deal because I want war. I oppose this deal because I want to prevent war. And this deal will bring war. It’ll spark a nuclear arms race in the region and it will feed Iran’s terrorism and aggression,” he added.

Rosenbaum further said that the Jewish community is at “almost a fratri-cide” over the issue.

“No policy has threatened to tear the American Jewish community apart as much as the Iran deal,” he said.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the biggest Israeli lobby group in the US, is deploying hundreds of lobbyists on Capitol Hill to try to convince lawmakers to vote against the agreement. Congress will vote on the accord in September.

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