By Tom Cohen
President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday they stand together in their efforts to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, but Netanyahu warned that time for diplomacy was running short.
The two leaders met at the White House to discuss Iran’s nuclear program and other Middle East issues amid talk speculation that Israel may attack nuclear sites in Iran. Speaking to the influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee afterward, Netanyahu said Iranian research “continues to march forward” despite painful economic sanctions imposed on the Islamic republic.
“My friends, Israel has waited patiently waited for the international community to resolve this issue. We’ve waited for diplomacy to work,” Netanyahu said.
“We’ve waited for sanctions to work,” he said. “None of us can afford to wait much longer. As prime minister of Israel, I will never let my people live in the shadow of annihilation.”
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Before the two leaders met at the White House, Obama told reporters that both he and Netanyahu would prefer a diplomatic solution to the Iranian issue. But Obama also repeated the warning that he delivered at AIPAC’s annual conference in Washington on Sunday — that military force remains an option to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power.
“The United States will always have Israel’s back when it comes to Israel’s security,” Obama said, repeating a line from the Sunday speech as Netanyahu nodded in agreement. Obama, Netanyahu look for unity on Iran “I reserve all options and my policy here is not going to be one of containment; my policy is prevention of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons and, as I indicated yesterday in my speech, when I say all options are on the table, I mean it,” Obama added.
Netanyahu: Israel, U.S. stand together Netanyahu said he welcomed Obama’s “strong speech” on Sunday and noted that Iran considers the United States and Israel to be similar foes.
“For them, you’re the great Satan, we’re the little Satan,” Netanyahu said. “For them, we are you, and you are us. And you know something, Mr. President? At least on this last point, I think they’re right. We are you, and you are us. We’re together. … Israel and America stand together.”