Obama in State of the Union pledges to stand with Israel, stop Iranian bomb


WASHINGTON (JTA) — President Obama in a State of the Union speech focused mostly on domestic issues pledged to keep Iran from obtaining a nuclear bomb and to "stand steadfast" with Israel.

"The leaders of Iran must recognize that now is the time for a diplomatic solution because a coalition stands united in demanding that they meet their obligations, and we will do what is necessary to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon," Obama said Tuesday night in Washington.

Obama also said he would continue to back democratization throughout the Middle East.

"And we will stand steadfast with Israel in pursuit of security and a lasting peace," he said. "These are the messages I will deliver when I travel to the Middle East next month."

Much of Obama’s speech was devoted to job creation proposals, particularly involving infrastructure building, and reducing the deficit through spending cuts and tax reform.

The president also talked about immigration reform, addressing climate change and bringing about new gun controls. Survivors of  shootings and relatives of victims were among the guests of the Obamas at the address.

Uging Congress at least to bring gun control laws to a vote, he singled out, among others, Gabby Giffords, the former Arizona congresswoman who was shot in the head in January 2011 in an assault that claimed six lives. Giffords was on hand with her husband, the former astronaut Mark Kelly.

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