President Barack Obama says the US has not taken military action against Iran over its nuclear program off the table ahead of the Israeli premier’s trip to Washington.
In an interview with Newsweek on Saturday, Obama made it clear that he did not take any options off the table when asked about war with Iran.
“I’ve been very clear that I don’t take any options off the table with respect to Iran. I don’t take options off the table when it comes to US security, period,” said Obama.
Iran would be a main topic of talks during Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s meeting with President Obama in Washington this week.
The new government of Barack Obama says it wants to engage diplomatically with Iran to resolve the country’s nuclear issue but has simultaneously followed in the Bush adminestration’s footsteps by pursuing double-edged policy of carrots and sticks with Iran.
“What I have said is that we want to offer Iran an opportunity to align itself with international norms and international rules,” the US president noted in his Saturday interview.
President Obama once again accused Tehran of being a threat to the region.
The Islamic Republic of Iran could be “a member in good standing of the international community and not a threat to its neighbors,” according to the first black leader in the US.
Obama also justified later US government decisions if nuclear talks do not stop Iran’s pursuit of the nuclear know-how which Tehran — a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty — refuses to relinquish as its inalienable rights according to NPT regulations.
“If it doesn’t work, the fact that we have tried will strengthen our position in mobilizing the international community, and Iran will have isolated itself, as opposed to a perception that it seeks to advance that somehow it’s being victimized by a US government that doesn’t respect Iran’s sovereignty,” Obama said.
In April, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told US lawmakers that Washington was ‘willing’ to engage diplomatically with Iran but at the same time threatened Tehran with ‘very tough, crippling sanctions’ if the desired results were not achieved.
The US president also ruled out making decision for Tel Aviv to prevent the regime from launching a unilateral war against Tehran.
“I don’t think it’s my place to determine for the Israelis what their security needs are,” he said.
“I can make an argument to Israel as an ally that the approach we are taking is one that has to be given a chance and offers the prospect of security, not just for the United States but also for Israel that is superior to some of the other alternatives.”
However, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon earlier on Saturday said that he could not imagine any attack against Iran without Washington’s approval.
Washington and Tel Aviv — the sole possessor of a nuclear warhead in the Middle East — have stepped up accusations that Iran is amassing weapons-grade uranium.
According to the latest International Atomic Energy Agency figures, however, Iran has produced some 1,010 kilograms of low enriched uranium (LEU) — a level “less than 5 percent.”
Only enriched to high levels of above 90 percent, can uranium be used for production of nuclear weapons.