Obama assumes ‘personal interest’ in Iran deal

US President Barack Obama says he is pursuing ‘personal interest’ in Iran nuclear deal and admits accountability

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

US President Barack Obama has acknowledged that he has “personal interest” in a nuclear deal with Iran and will be held accountable if Iran gets nuclear weapons.

In an interview with The Atlantic Weekly, published on Thursday, Obama defended nuclear negotiations with Iran and pointed out that he has personal stake in a possible nuclear deal.

"Look, 20 years from now, I'm still going to be around, God willing. If Iran has a nuclear weapon, it's my name on this.” he said. "I think it's fair to say that in addition to our profound national security interests, I have a personal interest in locking this down."

Addressing criticism over the sanctions relief in exchange for a deal, which his critics argue Iran will use for more sophisticated weapons, Obama dismissed the argument and said Iran needs to stabilise its economy first.

"The fact that you are anti-Semitic, or racist, doesn't preclude you from being interested in survival. It doesn't preclude you from being rational about the need to keep your economy afloat.” he said.

The negotiations started in November 2013, when Iran and the P5+1(China, France, Russia, UK, US and Germany) reached an interim agreement.

Iran and the P5+1 signed a framework deal with Iran on April 2 in Switzerland in a bid to curtail Iran’s nuclear capabilities. The deal was aimed at curbing Iran’s spinning centrifuges and eventually its nuclear ambitions in return for sanctions relief.

Also in the interview, Obama rejected claims that US is losing its war against ISIS. “No, I don’t think we’re losing” he said. “There’s no doubt there was a tactical setback.”

ISIS has gained control of two major cities this week. The militant group seized the Syrian city of Palmyra, a world heritage city, and Ramadi in Iraq.

On Thursday, ISIS captured last Syrian border gate - Al Walid - connecting the country with Iraq. With the fall of the last border point, Syria no longer has any border crossings with Iraq.

TRTWorld and agencies