Obama defines a "good deal" with Iran

President Obama on Friday promised that he will "not accept a bad deal" with Iran over its nuclear program, adding that "nobody has a more personal stake" in the ongoing negotiations.

Speaking at Adas Israel, one of the largest Jewish congregations in the Washington, D.C. area, Mr. Obama said that as part of the deal, "Iran must not under any circumstances be allowed to get a nuclear weapon." Still, he acknowledged, "There's a debate about how to achieve that, and that's a healthy debate."

Mr. Obama laid out "how I define a good deal":

"I'm interested in a deal that blocks every single one of Iran's pathways" to a nuclear weapon, he said. "If they try to cheat, we will immediately know about it."

The deal must also, he said, address the challenge for the longterm. Mr. Obama finally said he's seeking "a deal that makes the world and the region, including Israel, more secure."

Repeating an assertion he recently made to journalist Jeffrey Goldberg, Mr. Obama said he's seeking a good deal because "this deal will have my name on it."

"Nothing's agreed until everything's agreed," Mr. Obama said. "All options are and will remain on the table."

Mr. Obama also promised that America will always stand behind Israel. He also vigorously defended his own support for Israel.

"I can say that no administration has done more to ensure that Israel can protect itself than this one," he said.

Mr. Obama said he objects "forcefully" to the notion that his disagreements with Israel's government suggest he doesn't support Israel.

"I feel a responsibility to speak out honestly about" Middle Eastern issues, he said, adding that glossing over differences is "not a true measure of friendship."

The president expressed his support for a Palestinian state, while acknowledging the security risks Israel faces. He also noted the "deeply disturbing" rise in anti-semitism in unexpected parts of the world, warning that "this is not some passing fad."

Mr. Obama was at Adas Israel to celebrate Jewish American Heritage month. His visit also coincides with the Solidarity Shabbat, when government officials around North America and Europe participate in events and visit synagogues to highlight their commitment to fighting anti-semitism.

To open his remarks, Mr. Obama noted that he's been called "the first Jewish president of the United States."

"Since some people still have questions about my faith, I should make clear this was an honorary title, but I was flattered," he joked.