News / Middle East

Obama: '50/50' Chance of Final Iran Deal, Defends Interim Plan

US President Barack ObamaUS President Barack Obama
x
US President Barack Obama
US President Barack Obama
Kent Klein
U.S. President Barack Obama and his top diplomat are seeking support for a recent temporary agreement to halt Iran's nuclear programs and U.S. efforts to bring peace to the Middle East.

The president and Secretary of State John Kerry sought Saturday to convince critics and the Israeli government that recent diplomatic moves will not endanger Israel.

President Obama says he sees the chance of a final agreement on Iran's nuclear program as 50-50 (50 percent) or less.  But he sought to reassure critics that the latest deal will stop Iran from advancing its nuclear program for the next six months.

Obama said, "What we can achieve through a diplomatic resolution of this situation is, frankly, greater than what we could achieve with the other options that are available to us."

At the Saban Forum Saturday, the president said the deal rolls back key parts of Iran's nuclear program.

"To give us the time and the space to test whether they can move in a direction -  a comprehensive, permanent agreement that would give us all assurances that they're not producing nuclear weapons," said Obama.

Israel doubtful

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who says the agreement is too soft on Iran, speaks to the forum on Sunday.

Obama pledged that the United States will always defend Israel.

"We will not abide by any threats to our friends and allies in the region, and we've made that perfectly clear," said Obama. "And our commitment to Israel's security is sacrosanct, and they understand that."

At the same forum, Secretary of State Kerry said diplomacy is the best way to resolve the nuclear dispute with Iran.

Kerry said, "I am convinced beyond any doubt that Israel becomes safer the moment this first-step agreement is implemented."

Kerry has just returned from talks with Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.  He said the U.S. is committed to helping to produce a Middle East peace agreement.

"Peace is possible today because we have courageous leaders who have already taken significant political risks for peace, and the time is approaching when they will have to take even more," said Kerry.

Obama optimistic

The president expressed similar optimism on the peace process.

Obama said, "I think it is possible, over the next several months, to arrive at a framework that does not address every single detail, but gets us to a point where everybody recognizes that it's better to move forward than to move backward."

Obama said his administration had spent much time working with Netanyahu to understand Israel's security needs as part of any possible two-state solution.

You May Like

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, No voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve and do not want to take a risk by endorsing independence More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid