President Obama shut down the idea of requiring Iran's recognition of Israel and its right to exist as part of the Iran nuclear deal, explaining that such a recognition is "akin to saying that we won’t sign a deal unless the nature of the Iranian regime completely transforms."
Obama made the comments in an interview with NPR's Steve Inskeep Monday about the controversial nuclear deal, the (disputed) framework for which was agreed upon last week. When Inskeep asked the president why the US would not require Iran's recognition of Israel as part of the deal, Obama explained that the openly "anti-Semitic" regime could not be expected to accept a demand so contrary to their views... Here's the excerpt via NPR:
OBAMA: So there’s still going to be a whole host of differences between us and Iran, and one of the most profound ones is the vile, anti-Semitic statements that have often come out of the highest levels of the Iranian regime. But the notion that we would condition Iran not getting nuclear weapons, in a verifiable deal, on Iran recognizing Israel is really akin to saying that we won’t sign a deal unless the nature of the Iranian regime completely transforms. And that is, I think, a fundamental misjudgment.
The — I want to return to this point. We want Iran not to have nuclear weapons precisely because we can’t bank on the nature of the regime changing. That’s exactly why we don’t want to have nuclear weapons. If suddenly Iran transformed itself into Germany or Sweden or France, there would be a different set of conversations about their nuclear infrastructure.
So, you know, the key here is not to somehow expect that Iran changes — although it is something that may end up being an important byproduct of this deal — but rather it is to make sure that we have a verifiable deal that takes off the table what would be a game-changer for them if in fact they possess nuclear weapons.
Earlier in the interview, Inskeep asked Obama how this could be a good deal if Iran is not "capable of changing its ways?" Obama answered by "flip[ping] the question" and essentially arguing that whether or not Iran was trustworthy didn't matter:
OBAMA: Let me flip the question, Steve: I would argue that this deal is the right thing to do for the United States, for our allies in the region and for world peace regardless of the nature of the Iranian regime.
So — so I would actually argue you're right. People are focused on that.
But this is a good deal if you think Iran's open to change; it's also a good deal if you think that Iran is implacably opposed to the United States and the West and our values ...