President Barack Obama claimed Sunday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had offered no alternative to the Iran deal. ” I’ve repeatedly asked both Prime Minister Netanyahu and others to present me a reasonable, realistic plan that would achieve exactly what this deal achieves, and I have yet to get a response,” Obama told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS.
In the interview, taped after Obama’s Iran speech last week, Obama also reiterated that it was “absolutely true factually” that Republicans had made “common cause” with hardliners in Iran.
In Netanyahu’s speech before Congress in March, he outlined his alternative:
We can insist that restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program not be lifted for as long as Iran continues its aggression in the region and in the world.
Before lifting those restrictions, the world should demand that Iran do three things. First, stop its aggression against its neighbors in the Middle East. Second…
Second, stop supporting terrorism around the world.
And third, stop threatening to annihilate my country, Israel, the one and only Jewish state.
Obama claimed at the time not to have watched the speech, but said he read the transcript, so he is aware of Netanyahu’s alternative.
In addition, others have suggested alternatives. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) presented one, for example, on Thursday, in announcing his opposition to the Iran deal: “Better to keep U.S. sanctions in place, strengthen them, enforce secondary sanctions on other nations, and pursue the hard-trodden path of diplomacy once more, difficult as it may be.” Zakaria’s interview with Obama occurred on the same day.
Zakaria also invited Obama to attack Netanyahu:
ZAKARIA: Prime Minister Netanyahu has injected himself forcefully into this debate on American foreign policy…
ZAKARIA: – in Washington.
ZAKARIA: Can you recall a time when a foreign head of government has done that? Is it appropriate for a foreign head of government to inject himself into an American debate?
OBAMA: You know, I’ll let you ask Prime Minister Netanyahu that question if he gives you an interview. I don’t recall a similar example.