Obama Says Military Option on Iran Not a ‘Bluff’
President Obama, speaking days before a crucial meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, stiffened his pledge to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, even as he warned Israel of the negative consequences of a pre-emptive military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Mr. Obama, seeking to reassure a close American ally that contends it has reached a moment of reckoning with Iran, rejected suggestions that the United States was prepared to try to contain a nuclear-armed Iran. He declared explicitly that his administration would use force — a “military component,” as he put it — to prevent Tehran from acquiring a bomb.
But the president also said he would try to convince Mr. Netanyahu, whom he is meeting here on Monday at a time of heightened fears of a conflict, that a military strike could help Iran by allowing it to portray itself as a victim of aggression. And he said such military action would only delay, not prevent, Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons.
Mr. Obama’s remarks, in a 45-minute interview with The Atlantic magazine this week, were intended to reinforce a sense of solidarity between the United States and Israel without ceding ground on differences between Washington and Jerusalem over the timetable or triggers for potential military action.