Obama warns against 'loose talk' of war on Iran. Obama Shifts Toward Israel on Iran
Obama warns against 'loose talk' of war on Iran
By CAREN BOHAN, Reuters March 5, 2012 8:35am
WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama warned on Sunday against "loose talk" of a war with Iran ahead of a crucial meeting in which he will urge Israel's prime minister to avoid a premature strike on the Islamic Republic's nuclear facilities.
On the eve of his talks with Benjamin Netanyahu, Obama used a speech to the pro-Israel US. lobbying group AIPAC to pledge his staunch support for the Jewish state and to argue that international sanctions on Iran must be given more time to work.
But there was no sign he and Netanyahu were moving any closer to agreeing on their approach to Iran.
Obama said the "bluster" about a military strike was counterproductive because it has been driving up global oil prices, boosting demand for Iranian oil and helping to offset the impact of sanctions on its economy.
"I firmly believe that an opportunity remains for diplomacy—backed by pressure—to succeed," Obama told the crowd of 13,000 people in a cavernous ballroom.
"I would ask that we all remember the weightiness of these issues, the stakes involved for Israel, for America, and for the world. Already, there is too much loose talk of war," he added.
Obama did not accuse any particular person or country of the "loose talk."
Obama's meeting with Netanyahu on Monday comes amid US fears that Israel might opt to strike Iran on its own if it is not convinced of US resolve to stop Tehran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
Such speculation has gained traction as Obama has faced election-year criticism from Republicans who question the strength of his support for Israel and accuse him of not taking a tough enough approach toward Iran.
Analysts say such criticism could lead Israel to calculate that Obama could ill afford a rift with the Jewish state with a US election looming in November and would be forced to give at least tacit support if Israel were to take military action against Iran.
'Very much appreciated'
Speaking to reporters in Ottawa after Obama spoke, Netanyahu welcomed Obama's speech but highlighted parts of it where the US president said "all options" remain on the table—a reference to the possibility of military action if necessary to stop Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
Netanyahu said he appreciated that Obama "made clear that when it comes to a nuclear-armed Iran, containment is simply not an option."
"Perhaps most important of all, I appreciated the fact that he said that Israel must be able to defend itself, by itself, against any threat," Netanyahu added.
Obama last week issued his most direct threat yet of US military action against Iran, saying in an interview with the Atlantic magazine, "I don't bluff."
However, as he did in the AIPAC speech, Obama argued in the interview for focusing on sanctions as the course of action with the most likely chance of success.
At the AIPAC conference, Obama received the strongest applause when he spoke of the bond between the United States and Israel and when he said the United States had a profound interest in preventing Iran from getting a nuclear bomb. The audience gave him a standing ovation at the conclusion of the speech.
In addition to framing his views on Iran ahead of the talks with Netanyahu, one of Obama's aims in his remarks was to push back at Republican critics who have seized on differences between Netanyahu and Obama over Iran to argue he has not been supportive enough of a key US ally.
"There should not be a shred of doubt by now: when the chips are down, I have Israel's back," Obama said.
Speaking on NBC's Meet the Press, Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said Obama's sanctions strategy "hasn't worked" and called on the president to do more to warn Iran of a potential military strike.
"I think it's useful for us to say to the Iranians, 'The fact is you're not going to get nuclear weapons and the only question is whether you want to be hit militarily to prove that, or whether you accept it diplomatically but it's not going to happen,'" Gingrich said. "I do not think the Iranians believe him."
Obama signed a law in December threatening sanctions on financial institutions that deal with Iran's central bank, and the EU in January announced an embargo on Iranian oil imports from July 1.
A decline in Iranian oil sales in the past couple of months has been one of the leading factors in the rise in oil prices. –Reuters
Re: Obama warns against 'loose talk' of war on Iran. Obama Shifts Toward Israel on Iran
Translation: Chill out Israel. Iran will eventually get fed up with our sanctions and assassinations of their scientists. Soon enough they'll attack one of us, and then we can bomb them in "response" and nobody will be mad at us.
Obama Romney Santorum Gingrich - Support endless wars, endless debt-
financed government spending, endless borrowing from China, more restrictions on our civil liberties, un-interested in talking about the Fed........ The acceptable mainstream candidates
The one candidate who opposes them on all these issues.. the crazy unelectable candidate