President Obama said he is not bluffing and would attack Iran if it builds a nuclear weapon saying a “a military component” is among the options that would be used. This is the most direct threat made by the U.S. against Iran, and while Israel wanted the U.S. to make an overt direct threat, this was as much as it apparently will get.
Obama also warned Israel against premature strikes saying it will ultimately lead to more problems than good.
“I think that the Israeli government recognizes that, as president of the United States, I don’t bluff,” he said in the interview. “I also don’t, as a matter of sound policy, go around advertising exactly what our intentions are. But (both) governments recognize that when the United States says it is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon, we mean what we say.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be in Washington D.C. on Monday for an Oval office meeting with President Obama and will also be speaking to AIPAC, American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
Obama has consistently refused to renounce a military option for the United States down the road. The dispute with Israel is over the timing and efficiency of such a strike, not whether one is ever appropriate. The difference of opinion has quickly come to dominate the U.S.-Israeli relationship and the U.S. strategy for dealing with a nuclear Iran is a major issue for American Jewish voters in this election year.