Obama: Iran a “profound” threat to U.S.
March 2, 2012 Leave a comment
By Lauren Appelbaum, Political Director
Seattle, March 2 – President Obama wants both the Israeli and Iranian governments to know he’s serious about stopping Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
“I think that the Israeli government recognizes that, as president of the United States, I don’t bluff,” Obama said during an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic magazine. “I also don’t, as a matter of sound policy, go around advertising exactly what our intentions are. But I think both the Iranian and the Israeli governments recognize that when the United States says it is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon, we mean what we say.”
“Preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon isn’t just in the interest of Israel, it is profoundly in the security interests of the United States, and that when I say we’re not taking any option off the table, we mean it,” Obama also said. “We are going to continue to apply pressure until Iran takes a different course.”
Obama continued to say Iran is a national security interest for the entire world and that the world is united in isolating Iran through sanctions to prevent the regime from creating nuclear weapons.
“I assure you that Europe would not have gone forward with sanctions on Iranian oil imports – which are very difficult for them to carry out, because they get a lot of oil from Iran – had it not been for their understanding that it is in the world’s interest, to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.”
The president said there are several reasons to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, including the threat to Israel, “one of our strongest allies in the world;” a nuclear arms race “in the most volatile region in the world;” and the risk of an Iranian nuclear weapon falling into the hands of terrorist organizations.
“The dangers of an Iran getting nuclear weapons that then leads to a free-for-all in the Middle East is something that I think would be very dangerous for the world.”
Obama is scheduled to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington, D.C., on March 5, one day after the president plans to address the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). The meeting is expected to focus primarily on how to deal with Iran, whose efforts to acquire a nuclear weapon are leading to speculation of future military action.
Analysts believe the major matter to be clarified between the U.S. and Israel concerns what have been called the “red-lines” of preventive action – the point at which military action may become the final option to prevent Iran developing a nuclear weapon.
The leaders are expected to try to come to a common position and Israeli officials have said they hope for a strong statement on Iran to emerge from the Obama-Netanyahu meeting that will demonstrate that both countries are united on what needs to be done.
Nearly 13,000 delegates are expected to attend the AIPAC policy conference that runs from Sunday until Tuesday. Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, all of whom have been critical of the administration’s handling of Iran, also are set to address the gathering.