Monday Feb 06, 201212:59 PM GMT
Obama: US, Israel working in ‘lockstep’ on Iran
US President Barack Obama
Mon Feb 6, 2012 12:52PM
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I don't think that Israel has made a decision on what they need to do."

US President Barack Obama

US President Barack Obama says he does not think Israel has decided whether to launch a military strike against Iran over its atomic activities.


"I don't think that Israel has made a decision on what they need to do. I think they, like us, believe that Iran has to stand down on its nuclear program," Obama said in an interview with NBC television network on Sunday.

He added that Israel and the United States would work "in lockstep" on Iran.

"I will say that we have closer military and intelligence consultation between our two countries than we've ever had," Obama said, adding, "We are going to be sure that we work in lockstep as we proceed to try to solve this -- hopefully diplomatically."

He reiterated that the United States has removed no option from consideration in dealing with Iran.

The remarks come as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned ministers from his center-right Likud political party to avoid making statements on a possible military attack against Iran, saying such remarks could be damaging to Israel.

"The chatter causes extensive damage, puts Israel on the front line and impedes the sanction efforts," Ynetnews| quoted Netanyahu as saying during a Likud ministerial meeting in al-Quds (Jerusalem) on Sunday.

On February 2, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said if Western sanctions imposed against Iran fail to stop its nuclear program, military action against the country must be put on the agenda.

Meanwhile, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon has threatened Iran with a military strike against its nuclear facilities in an attempt to force the Islamic Republic to abandon its nuclear activities.

Speaking at the 12th Annual Herzliya Conference in Israel last Thursday, he said that Iran's atomic sites are “within striking distance,” adding that “any facility defended by a human being can be penetrated."

Despite the widely publicized claims by the US, Israel and some of their European allies that Iran's nuclear program may include a military aspect, Iran insists on its civilian nature, arguing that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it has the right to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

The IAEA has conducted numerous inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities but has never found any evidence indicating that Tehran's civilian nuclear program has diverted towards nuclear weapons production.

This is while the Israeli regime is widely known to possess between 200 and 400 nuclear warheads. Furthermore, Tel Aviv refuses to allow its nuclear facilities to come under international regulatory inspectors and rejects any international nuclear regulatory agreements.

MP/AZ/HGH
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