… His devotion to Israel’s security, and its right to exist, was a repeated theme in the interview; But he rejected that dealing with the Islamic Republic in Iran undermined that commitment, questioning instead the alternatives proposed by the Netanyahu government.
Obama also rejected the notion that anti-Semitism at the highest levels of Iran’s leadership proves their government is irrational.
“The fact that you are anti-Semitic, or racist, doesn’t preclude you from being interested in survival,” Obama said, speaking of Tehran’s leadership. “It doesn’t preclude you from being rational about the need to keep your economy afloat; it doesn’t preclude you from making strategic decisions about how you stay in power; and so the fact that the supreme leader is anti-Semitic doesn’t mean that this overrides all of his other considerations.”
He said that, historically, anti-Semitic policies have been executed by governments across Europe and the Middle East at a “low cost.” His policy is to make clear to the Iranians that the cost is high, he said.
“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.”