President Barack Obama warned Jewish leaders that if Congress rejects the nuclear agreement with Iran, terrorists will launch rockets at Tel Aviv and ram U.S. aircraft carriers, Israeli media reported Wednesday.
One of the 20 Jewish American leaders at Tuesday’s White House meeting told Israel Radio Wednesday that Obama said if the deal is rejected, the U.S. will be pressured to launch a military strike on Iran, which will then prompt a bombardment of Israel from Iran’s Middle East proxies.
"He said military action by the United States against Iran's nuclear facilities is not going to result in Iran deciding to have a full-fledged war with the United States," said Greg Rosenbaum of the National Jewish Democratic Council, according to Reuters.
Quoting Obama, Rosenbaum said, "`You'll see more support for terrorism. You'll see Hezbollah rockets falling on Tel Aviv.' This is what he said would happen if the U.S. had a military strike on Iran."
The Times of Israel heard from other participants at the meeting who further elaborated on Obama’s argument:
If Congress succeeds in killing the deal and Iran were to subsequently walk away from the agreement and start enriching uranium again to weapons-grade levels, the opponents of the deal will pressure the U.S. government into launching a preemptive strike against the Islamic Republic’s nuclear facilities, the president was said to have argued. […]
Iran is not going to launch a full-fledged assault on America, knowing that its military, with an annual budget of $15 billion, stands no chance against the U.S. Army and its budget of close to $600 billion, the president said. Rather, Iran’s terrorist proxies will attack American and Israeli targets, for instance by ramming aircraft carriers or arming terrorist groups along Israel’s borders.
Israeli media Wednesday morning led with reports about the two-hour meeting that was described as “contentious.”
Among the other revelations, participants said Obama acknowledged the deal was “by no means perfect.”
Ynet News reported that during the meeting, Lee Rosenberg, a leader of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee complained to the president that he had presented opponents of the deal as "warmongers."
Before Obama’s meeting to promote the Iran deal to U.S. Jewish leaders, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the opposite argument, telling the Jewish Federations of North America that the agreement over Iran’s nuclear program would make war more likely, will spark a Middle East nuclear arms race, and will promote Iranian-sponsored terrorism.
“This deal will bring war,” Netanyahu told the group via video.