Obama to Jews: Agreement Built on Verification, Not Trust

Obama to Jews: Agreement Built on Verification, Not Trust   Obama to Jews: Agreement Built on Verification, Not Trust

US President Barack Obama sought to provide assurances on the merits of last month's nuclear agreement with Iran in a webcast with Jewish Americans on Friday as part of an intense White House campaign to muster support for the pact.    

Obama compared tensions between the US and Israel over the Iran deal to a family feud and said he expects quick improvements in ties between the longtime allies once the accord is implemented, the AP reported.

"Like all families, sometimes there are going to be disagreements… And sometimes people get angrier about disagreements in families than with folks that aren't family."

The comments came as momentum for the nuclear accord grew on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers will vote next month on a resolution to disapprove of the deal. Democratic Senator Tom Carper became the 30th senator to publicly back the agreement, saying on Friday it was a good deal for the US and for allies like Israel.

If senate Democrats can amass 41 votes in favor of the deal, they could block passage of the disapproval resolution. Obama has vowed to veto the resolution if it passes, and Democrats could hold off Republican efforts to override his veto if they get 34 votes — just four more than they have now.

The looming congressional confrontation has sparked a summer of intense debate between supporters and opponents of the accord. The deliberations have also divided US Jewish groups.

Obama encouraged skeptics of the agreement to "overcome the emotions" that have infused the debate and evaluate the accord based on facts.

  Pro-War Rally

While Obama was measured in his remarks Friday, he has spoken passionately about the deal in the past, accusing those who oppose it of supporting war over diplomacy. Earlier in the day, his spokesman equated an anti-deal rally that Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Senator Ted Cruz plan to hold next month to a "pro-war rally."

The US negotiated alongside Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China for nearly two years before finalizing the landmark accord to place temporary constraints on Iran's nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.

As he has in previous speeches and interviews, Obama sought to refute criticism of the pact point by point. He disputed the notion that Iran would funnel the bulk of the money it receives from the sanctions relief into backing its regional allies, saying that Iranian officials are more likely to try to boost their economy. He also said the agreement was built on verification, not trust.

The webcast was hosted by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and the Jewish Federations of North America. Organizers said thousands of people participated and questions submitted online were selected by the moderators.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, one of the fiercest critics of the nuclear agreement, took part in a similar webcast hosted by the same organizations earlier this month. While Obama and Netanyahu have never had a warm relationship, the US president's pursuit of diplomacy with Iran has deeply strained ties between them.