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Obama Phones Netanyahu to Discuss Iran Deal

Obama tells Netanyahu he wants to begin "consultations" on the deal reached with Iran about its nuclear program.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 11/25/2013, 12:12 AM

PM Netanyahu & President Obama
PM Netanyahu & President Obama
Flash 90

U.S. President Barack Obama called Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday to discuss an international nuclear deal with Iran that has threatened to raise tensions between the close allies, the White House said.

"The two leaders reaffirmed their shared goal of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon," deputy White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters aboard Air Force One As Obama headed to the U.S. West Coast, reported AFP.

"Consistent with our commitment to consult closely with our Israeli friends, the president told the prime minister that he wants the United States and Israel to begin consultations immediately regarding our efforts to negotiate a comprehensive solution," he added.

Obama stressed that the P5+1 powers negotiating with Iran will seek to obtain a "lasting, peaceful and comprehensive solution that would resolve the international community's concerns regarding Iran's nuclear program," according to Earnest.

He added that Obama and Netanyahu agreed to keep in "close contact" over the deal.

"The president underscored that the United States will remain firm in our commitment to Israel, which has good reason to be skeptical about Iran's intentions," said Earnest.

The phone call comes hours after the West and Iran signed an interim deal which Netanyahu rejected as “a historic mistake”.

Relations between Israel and the United States have been strained for quite some time, as Netanyahu had repeatedly warned before the deal was signed that it was a bad one.

According to some recent reports, the U.S. administration has been frustrated with Netanyahu’s warnings to the point that Obama has been refusing to accept Netanyahu’s phone calls.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry hit out at critics of the deal on Sunday, saying that those who criticize it have a responsibility to “tell people what the better alternative is.”

"Israel will actually gain a larger breathing space in terms of the breakout capacity of Iran," Kerry insisted in an interview on ABC.

"Do you want to sit there and argue that you have to dismantle your program before you stopped it, and while you're arguing about this dismantling it, they progress?" he asked.