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Obama Cites 'Very Real Difference' With Netanyahu Over Iran Sanctions

President Barack Obama comments on nuclear talks with Iran Monday during a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House.
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/ Source: NBC News

President Barack Obama on Monday cited his “very real difference” with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the issue of further sanctions against Iran amid nuclear talks.

“I don’t want to be coy. The prime minister and I have a very real difference around Iran sanctions,” Obama said, noting that U.S. negotiating partners agree with his assessment of the situation. “It does not make sense to sour the negotiations a month or two before they’re about to be completed.”

Obama, who noted that he will not meet with Netanyahu when he comes to the United States next month because of the visit’s proximity to Netanyahu’s election, said that he believes negotiations with Iran should be given a chance to succeed.

“What the rush? Unless your view is that it’s not possible to get a deal with Iran and it shouldn’t even be tested. And that I cannot agree with, because as president of the United States I am looking at what the options are if we don’t get a diplomatic resolution. Those options are narrow and they’re not attractive.”

The president’s comments came during a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“As much as I love Angela, if she was two weeks away from an election, she probably would not have received an invitation to the White House," Obama joked. "And I suspect she wouldn’t have asked for one.”

- Carrie Dann