Obama: I’m ‘absolutely committed’ to Israel’s security

Updated 9:30 PM EDT, Sun April 5, 2015
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Story highlights

In an interview with The New York Times, President Obama says he understands Israel feels particularly vulnerable

Obama calls the nuclear deal with Iran a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity"

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and many U.S. Republicans warn that Iran cannot be trusted

(CNN) —  

President Barack Obama says he is “absolutely committed to making sure” Israel maintains a military advantage over Iran.

His comments to The New York Times, published on Sunday, come amid criticism from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the deal that the United States and five other world powers struck with Iran. Tehran agreed to halt the country’s nuclear ambitions, and in exchange, Western powers would drop sanctions that have hurt the Iran’s economy.

Obama said he understands and respects Netanyahu’s stance that Israel is particularly vulnerable and doesn’t “have the luxury of testing these propositions” in the deal.

“But what I would say to them is that not only am I absolutely committed to making sure they maintain their qualitative military edge, and that they can deter any potential future attacks, but what I’m willing to do is to make the kinds of commitments that would give everybody in the neighborhood, including Iran, a clarity that if Israel were to be attacked by any state, that we would stand by them,” Obama said.

That, he said, should be “sufficient to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see whether or not we can at least take the nuclear issue off the table,” he said.

The