US President Barack Obama issued a stern warning yesterday to Iran if it continues to develop nuclear weapons. “When it comes to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, I will take no options off the table, and I mean what I say,” Obama said yesterday at the pro-Israel campaign group American Israel Public Affairs Committee Conference.
“That includes all elements of American power,” he added. “A political effort aimed at isolating Iran; a diplomatic effort to sustain our coalition and ensure that the Iranian programme is monitored; an economic effort to impose crippling sanctions; and, yes, a military effort to be prepared for any contingency.” Obama cautioned, however, that “too much loose talk of war” recently has only helped Iran and has driven up the price of oil.
Speaking to AIPAC, Obama also urged Israel to allow international sanctions to take their toll and further pressurise Iran. This follows growing assessments that Israel might strike Iran’s nuclear facility before Tehran crosses the technological threshold that will allow it to construct a nuclear device.
“For the sake of Israel’s security, America’s security and the peace and security of the world, now is not the time for bluster … Now is the time to let our increased pressure sink in, and to sustain the broad international coalition that we have built.” Quoting renowned Democratic president Theodore Roosevelt, Obama said he would “speak softly, but carry a big stick” — and warned Iran not to test US resolve.
Obama’s widely anticipated speech came a day before he meets at the White House with Netanyahu, who will address the AIPAC conference later today.