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Nov 25, 2013

Iran deal bears Obama’s personal stamp

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – When push came to shove in the closing hours of marathon negotiations in Geneva on Iran’s nuclear program, it was President Barack Obama, back at the White House, who approved the final language on the U.S. side before the historic deal was clinched.

It was perhaps only fitting that Obama had the last say. His push for a thaw with Tehran, a longtime U.S. foe, dates back to before his presidency, and no other foreign policy issue bears his personal stamp more since he took office in early 2009.

Nov 15, 2013

Obama national security aide chides Israel over settlements

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s top national security aide on Thursday blamed Israeli settlement expansion announcements for some of the latest tensions between Israel and the Palestinians as U.S.-brokered peace talks between the two sides have faltered.

In a speech to a Washington think tank, Susan Rice, Obama’s national security adviser, said the United States remained committed to Middle East peacemaking, but made clear that it saw Jewish settlement construction plans as hampering those efforts.

Nov 14, 2013

Sanctions easing can be reversed if Iran does not deliver -Obama

WASHINGTON, Nov 14 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama sought
to reassure skeptical U.S. lawmakers on Thursday that any easing
of sanctions on Iran that emerges from negotiations could easily
be reversed and “ramped back up” if Tehran fails to curb its
nuclear program.

In his most direct appeal yet for more time to pursue a
diplomatic deal with Iran, Obama urged Congress to hold off on
imposing any new sanctions despite concerns on Capitol Hill and
among U.S. allies Israel and Saudi Arabia that he is giving away
too much.

Nov 14, 2013

Obama appeals to Congress to hold off on new sanctions on Iran

WASHINGTON, Nov 14 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama urged
skeptical U.S. lawmakers on Thursday to hold off on imposing new
sanctions on Iran, saying that if diplomacy fails to curb
Tehran’s nuclear program, any punitive measures that are eased
through negotiations could be “ramped back up.”

In his most direct appeal yet for more time to pursue a
diplomatic deal with Iran, Obama sought to assuage concerns in
Congress and among U.S. allies including Israel and Saudi Arabia
that his administration is giving away too much in talks between
Tehran and six world powers.

Nov 11, 2013

U.S. Senate will wait before moving on Iran sanctions: aides

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers will wait until after a briefing by Secretary of State John Kerry this week before deciding whether to impose tough new sanctions on Iran because of its nuclear program, Senate aides said on Monday.

Kerry will brief the Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday on the status of negotiations for a deal on the nuclear program, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters as Kerry returned from a trip that included a stop at the Iran negotiations in Geneva.

Nov 8, 2013

Obama calls Netanyahu after criticism of Iran nuclear plan

NEW ORLEANS/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday after the Israeli leader delivered a stinging rebuke to Washington over a deal taking shape in talks between Iran and world powers seeking to curb Tehran’s nuclear program.

The telephone call marked an apparent bid by Obama to tamp down growing unease over the emerging Iran deal among the United States’ Middle East allies, including Saudi Arabia, as well as mounting opposition to the plan on Capitol Hill.

Oct 25, 2013

Analysis: Obama’s aversion to Mideast conflicts fuels backlash from allies

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – From Saudi Arabia to Israel, traditional U.S. allies in the Middle East are beginning to ask: Is America turning its back on us?

President Barack Obama’s diplomatic overtures to old foe Iran and his last-minute refusal to attack Syria have officials in Israel, the Gulf countries and Turkey wondering if Washington is deliberately neglecting them to avoid being dragged into a Middle East facing deeper sectarian strife and concerns that Tehran may be seeking a nuclear bomb.

Oct 25, 2013

Obama’s aversion to Mideast conflicts fuels backlash from allies

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – From Saudi Arabia to Israel, traditional U.S. allies in the Middle East are beginning to ask: Is America turning its back on us?

President Barack Obama’s diplomatic overtures to old foe Iran and his last-minute refusal to attack Syria have officials in Israel, the Gulf countries and Turkey wondering if Washington is deliberately neglecting them to avoid being dragged into a Middle East facing deeper sectarian strife and concerns that Tehran may be seeking a nuclear bomb.

Oct 23, 2013

White House seeks to limit fallout from U.S.-Saudi tensions

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration sought on Wednesday to limit any damage to the long-standing U.S. alliance with Saudi Arabia in a rift over America’s role in the Middle East that has underscored growing strategic differences.

A spate of unusually public complaints from leading members of the Saudi ruling family has shed new light on the kingdom’s frustration with the United States over its perceived inaction on Syria, its diplomatic engagement with Iran and its coldness toward the military government in Egypt.

Oct 22, 2013

McCain blames Obama administration for Saudi rejection of U.N. seat

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senator John McCain expressed sympathy on Monday for Saudi Arabia’s decision to reject a seat on the U.N. Security Council and said it was largely the result of Saudi frustration over the Obama administration’s Syria policy.

Saudi Arabia turned down a coveted two-year term on the council on Friday in protest against international inaction over the Syrian crisis.

    • About Matt

      "White House correspondent who has covered news on four continents for Reuters, from Latin American coups and drug wars to the O.J. Simpson murder trial in Los Angeles to the Balkans conflict to the second Palestinian Intifada to the Iraq war. He has covered George W. Bush and is now covering President Barack Obama."
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