WASHINGTON - U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice strongly affirmed the Obama administration's support of Israel while offering a fairly blunt summation of current negotiations with Iran concerning the latter's nuclear program.
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In a speech peppered with Hebrew phrases and sayings, Rice stressed the United States' strong, historically bipartisan support for Israel, as well as the current "unprecedented" levels of cooperation between the two states.
Rice remarked that "all options are on the table to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon," adding that "a bad deal is worse than no deal" - a line which received a standing ovation from the crowd.
Rice acknowledged that significant gaps remain in negotiations, but commented that the world is now safer due to the Iran Joint Plan of Action.
According to Rice, sanctions deprived Iran of $200 billion in oil revenue. However, Rice cautioned that sanctions are a tool, not an end in themselves.
Rice said that a good deal is one that would cutt off every single pathway for Iran to make a nuclear weapon, adding that the controversial "sunset clause" would be set at more than a decade, with additional provisions providing transparency for a longer period of time.
However, Rice cautioned against "unrealistic and unachievable" demands on nuclear enrichment, saying that "no one can make Iran unlearn the scientific and nuclear expertise it already possesses."
"If we insist on no enrichment, our partners will abandon us. Simply put, that is not a viable nor obtainable negotiating position," Rice bluntly stated.
Rice further called on Congress not to play the spoiler in negotiations, saying that new sanctions will split the international community, adding that "soundbites won't stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon - diplomacy can."
Rice cushioned her remarks on the Iran talks by reiterating U.S. support for Iran by stating that "we have Israel's back, come hell or high water."
Rice called Netanyahu's Congress speech "destructive" to the relationship between the U.S. and Israel during an interview with Charlie Rose last week.
"The relationship between the U.S. and Israel has always been bipartisan and we have been fortunate that the politics have not been injected into this relationship," Rice said.
Following Rice's remarks, an ad sponsored by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach ran in the New York Times reading “Susan Rice has a blind spot: Genocide," targeting Rice's time as President Bill Clinton's staff in the 1990s, when she reportedly advised against describing the mass killings in Rwanda as genocide.