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May 16, 2016 5:31 pm

Texas Governor Refuses Obama’s Request to Lift State Sanctions on Iran; Says Nuclear Deal Undermines US Security, Poses Existential Threat to Israel

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Texas Governor Greg Abbott. Photo: Ruthie Blum.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott. Photo: Ruthie Blum.

The governor of Texas sent a harsh letter to US President Barack Obama on Monday, announcing that his state would not only maintain its sanctions on Iran, but strengthen them, The Algemeiner has learned.

Governor Greg Abbott explained that the letter was in response to a written appeal made by Obama on April 8, requesting that Texas “review” its economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic – as was promised to Tehran in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers reached in July.

“I strongly oppose the Iran deal because it undermines the national security of the United States and its strategic allies abroad – especially our most important Middle East ally, Israel,” Abbott wrote to Obama. “Entering into an agreement with a country that consistently calls for ‘death to America,’ and repeatedly articulates antisemitic policies is short-sighted and ignores geopolitical realities.”

Asserting that the nuclear deal poses an existential threat to the Jewish state, Abbott stressed Texas’ steadfast support for Israel – where he had just returned from a trip sponsored by casino magnate Sheldon and Dr. Miriam Adelson. He then described why he sees a parallel between Israel and his own life story.

Wheelchair-bound since the age of 26, when a tree fell on his back and paralyzed him, Abbott – author of Broken but Unbowed — said, “Israel faces enormous challenges on a daily basis, but it remains unbowed. It remains vigilant and strong. And what I learned in my life is that our lives aren’t defined by our challenges; instead, they’re defined by how we respond to the challenges we face. Probably no country in the world epitomizes that more than Israel.”

Abbott went on to present the similarities that he sees between Texas and Israel, pointing to the Jewish state’s being a “startup nation” and to his own state’s being “probably the most entrepreneurial in the US.”

He then quipped, “But when I draw parallels between Israel and Texas, don’t take my word for it; take the word of Bibi Netanyahu. The thing he seemed proudest to talk about was the trip that his son took to the state of Texas. His son came back and told his father, ‘Dad, Texans are just like us.’ And it’s stunningly true.”

To illustrate, Abbott returned to the analogy of his injury, due to which he has steel rods in his spine to keep his back in place. “The impression I got and get from Israel is that it is a nation with a spine of steel,” he said.

What he called the “cap-off event” of his Israel trip was a visit to the Old City of Jerusalem, where “you can connect culturally and religiously with the very cradle of religion.”

Abbott concluded: “Israel has no stronger ally in the United States than the state of Texas. That’s true for several reasons, in part because of our personality similarities, but also in part because of our commitment to defending religious liberty [and] state sovereignty. There is no state — I say with a smile — in the country that defends state sovereignty more than Texas. And there is no country that defends state sovereignty more than the nation of Israel. As Prime Minister Netanyahu made clear to me during our meeting… Israel is the nicest house in a rough neighborhood… I am deeply disturbed by the Iran deal that was struck by President Obama. I view it as a potential existential threat to Israel and, frankly, to nations across the globe. It makes no sense to me why the United States would be an accomplice to arming and aiding economically a nation that to this day seems to be devoted to terrorism. And every step of the way during the negotiation and post-negotiation process…Iran has repeatedly shown unwillingness to comply with any of the demands that were expected of them. And you all know probably better than I do what Iran did in March, where it launched missiles, saying in Hebrew that Israel should be wiped off the face of the earth. If that is not a message that the world should comprehend and understand the magnitude of, then the world needs to wake up.”

Governor Abbott made these statements during a round-table discussion in New York City with members of the Jewish media.

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