US will stop Iran going nuclear at any cost, Obama tells Israel news
15 March 2013
Days ahead of his first visit to Israel as head of state, US President Barak Obama said on Israeli television that his country would not stand back and allow Tehran to acquire a nuclear weapon.

Obama also told the news channel that Iran is at least a year away from successfully developing a nuclear weapon.

''I have been crystal clear about my position on Iran possessing a nuclear weapon. That is a red line for us. It is not only something that would be dangerous for Israel. It would be dangerous for the world,'' Obama said.

''I've also said there is a window, not an infinite period of time, but a window of time - where we can resolve this diplomatically.''

His comments echoed those of deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes, who did not rule out military action to contain Iran's nuclear weapon ambitions.

"Our red line is that we will not allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon. The president has made clear - publicly and privately - that we reject the policy of containment, because of the consequences of a nuclear-armed Iran for Israel, for the region, for the non-proliferation regime, and for the world," he reporters in Washington on Thursday.
"He (Obama) has made clear that we will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, and that means we're looking at all options, including military options. So the president has been clear on both his red line and on his approach as it relates to preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon," Rhodes said.

"What's also the case is we believe it's preferable to solve the issue peacefully - both because diplomacy can yield a more lasting solution if you can get an assurance that a nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes, and also because there certainly costs that would be involved with any military action," he said.

Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are known to differ on Iran's ambitions, with the Americans yet not quite convinced that Tehran actually wants to develop a nuclear weapon.

Tehran denies any plans to make a bomb and says that its nuclear programme is designed for peaceful means. At the same time, it has steadfastly refused to allow international inspection of its nuclear facilities.

Obama in the TV interview appeared to try and thaw the so far icy relations between the two leaders, referring to Netanyahu by his nickname, 'Bibi', no fewer than 10 times.

Obama arrives in Israel on Wednesday and will visit Jerusalem and Bethlehem, in the occupied West Bank. It is still unclear whether he will visit the Palestinian Authority's administrative capital, Ramallah, before he leaves next Friday.

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US will stop Iran going nuclear at any cost, Obama tells Israel