Obama calls Netanyahu on Iran nuclear deal
U.S. President Barack Obama called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Sunday to discuss the P5+1's first step agreement with Iran regarding Tehran's nuclear program, the White House said in a statement, Xinhua reported.
During the phone call, Obama and Netanyahu "reaffirmed their shared goal of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon," and Obama assured Netanyahu that "the P5+1 will use the months ahead to pursue a lasting, peaceful, and comprehensive solution that would resolve the international community's concerns regarding Iran's nuclear program."
Obama also told Netanyahu he wants the United States and Israel, the main U.S. ally in the Middle East, to begin consultations immediately regarding their effort to negotiate such a comprehensive solution.
After intensive negotiations, the P5+1 group, namely Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany, and Iran reached a first-step agreement on Iran's nuclear program on Sunday morning.
According to the White House, in the agreement Iran has been committed to halting enrichment above 5 percent and neutralizing its stockpile of near-20 percent uranium by means of dilution or converting.
Obama has hailed the deal as "an important first step toward a comprehensive solution" to Iran's nuclear program and "the most significant and tangible progress" ever made since he took office.
The agreement, however, drew harsh criticism from Netanyahu, who said it was a "historic mistake." He reiterated the danger the deal poses to Israel's safety, stressing that Israel is not bound by it and that attacking Iran is still an option for the Jewish state.
Obama, in the phone call, "underscored that the United States will remain firm in our commitment to Israel, which has good reason to be skeptical about Iran's intentions," according to the White House statement.
The two leaders agreed to stay in close contact on this issue as the P5+1 and Iran negotiate a long-term solution over the next six months, the White House said.