President Obama, in a conversation with media mogul Haim Saban as part of the Brookings Institution’s Saban Forum in Washington on Saturday, said that the U.S. has a “sacrosanct” commitment to Israel’s security and he defended the international interim agreement with Iran.
Saban, a close friend of Hillary Clinton’s who was lukewarm to Obama’s candidacy in 2008, has since become a significant supporter, particularly as the security of Israel is one of the media titan’s signature issues.
Obama said that “for the first time in over a decade we have halted advances in Iran’s nuclear program.” and said that even if there was no deal at the end of the six-month agreement, “we’re no worse off, and in fact we have greater leverage with the international community to continue sanctions and even strengthen them.”
In the Q&A, which lasted just over an hour, Saban asked Obama why the interim deal is different from previous efforts to prevent North Korea or Pakistan from getting a nuclear weapon.
“We don’t know yet,” Obama said “This is hard because the technology of the nuclear cycle, you can get off the Internet. The knowledge of creating a nuclear weapon is already out there.”
Saban and his wife Cheryl hosted Obama at their home on Nov. 25 at a fundraiser for Democratic Senate and House candidates, and a week earlier the Sabans dined with the president and first lady at the White House.