WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama told Jewish leaders that if the nuclear deal signed between world powers and Iran is rejected by Congress, the United States will be forced to attack Tehran’s nuclear facilities, which will lead to Hezbollah retaliating with rockets on Tel Aviv.

“Israel would bear the brunt of a US military strike,” Obama told 22 American Jewish leaders during a meeting at the White House, according to reports in US media. The president asserted that if Congress votes against the agreement, the Islamic Republic will back out of it and he will then face pressure from those who oppose the deal to militarily strike Tehran.

The meeting, held in the Cabinet Room for over two hours, featured a passionate president intent on winning over skeptics of the signature agreement, the reports said.

The nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, is intended to cap, restrict, monitor and partially roll back Iran’s nuclear work for a fifteen year period in exchange for sanctions relief.

The Republican-led US House of Representatives will vote on whether to reject the agreement when lawmakers return to Washington in September, party leaders said on Tuesday, setting up a showdown with the president. Greg Rosenbaum, one of 20 Jewish leaders who met Obama, was quoted as saying that the president spelled out what exercising a U.S. military option to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities would mean if the deal between world powers and Tehran was scrapped.

“He said military action by the United States against Iran’s nuclear facilities is not going to result in Iran deciding to have a full-fledged war with the United States,” Rosenbaum, of the National Jewish Democratic Council, quoted Obama as telling the forum. “You’ll see more support for terrorism. You’ll see Hezbollah rockets falling on Tel Aviv,” Rosenbaum quoted Obama as saying. Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a webcast organized by Jewish groups in North America, reiterated Israel’s arguments that the nuclear deal was not enough to curb Iranian nuclear projects with bomb-making potential.

With surveys showing American Jewish opinion mixed on a dispute that has strained the U.S.-Israeli alliance, Netanyahu cast his opposition to the Iran deal as non-partisan. “I don’t oppose this deal because I want war. I oppose this deal because I want to prevent war. And this deal will bring war,” he claimed, cautioning that sanctions relief would result in a financial windfall for Iran that could help fund destabilizing regional conflicts.

“This is a time to stand up and be counted. Oppose this dangerous deal,” Netanyahu said. According to Rosenbaum, when one of the participants took umbrage with Obama’s characterization of those who are opposed to the deal as warmongers, Obama launched into an explanation of why he believed that the rejection of the deal would ultimately lead to a US military attack. Obama said that if Congress rejected the deal, the Iranians would walk away from negotiations, and he would be under intense pressure to take military action.