“This is a regime that came to power swearing opposition to the United States, to Israel, and to many of the values that we hold dear,” President Obama told Power Rangers billionaire and staunch Israel supporter Haim Saban today about Iran. “But what I’ve consistently said is even as I don’t take any options off the table, what we do have to test is the possibility that we can resolve this issue diplomatically.” Obama and Saban were speaking at the Saban Forum’s 10th annual conference in DC. Today’s conversation with the President is the first time the media mogul has actually conducted an interview at his own event. “Ultimately, my goal as President of the United States, something I’ve said privately and publicly, is to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon,” Obama also told Saban. “Our commitment to Israel’s security is sacrosanct.”
Interviewing Obama onstage on a variety of Middle East related topics at Washington DC’s Willard Hotel, the big Democratic Party donor joked about the “very obedient President I have here today.” Obama cracked back that ‘it’s the Saban Forum, you’re in charge.” “I wish,” replied Saban with both noting to laughter that the media billionaire’s wife Cheryl who really was running things.
The exchange between the two comes just under two weeks after Saban praised the President’s Middle East policy at a fundraiser at his Beverly Hills home. during a trip out to California. “If Iran is at the negotiating table today, make no mistake about it, it is only because of President Obama’s resolve in striking them with the most crippling sanctions ever,” said Saban on November 25. That fundraiser was the second such of that night for Obama but it was the first Saban had hosted for the President directly. A big supporter of Hillary Clinton in 2008, Saban had hosted a fundraiser in October for the potential 2016 candidate and longtime Clinton pal Terry McAuliffe’s successful Virginia Governor bid. Approximately 120 people attended the midterm election $16,200 a ticket fundraiser in late November at Saban’s house including Tom Hanks & Rita Wilson, Warner Bros’ Barry Meyer and wife Wendy, and Netflix’s Ted Sarandos.
The interview between Obama and Saban today lasted about 50 minutes with the President taking a few questions from the audience.