President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have re-affirmed their resolve to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Their joint statement on Tuesday followed an hour-long phone conversation in which the two leaders discussed the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program and other security issues.
“President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu reaffirmed that they are united in their determination to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, and agreed to continue their close consultations going forward,” the White House said in a released statement.
The phone conversation came as tensions have again risen in the relationship between the two nations over Washington’s refusal to set a clear “red line” over the controversial Iranian nuclear activity.
The Obama administration recently stated its belief that there is still “time and space” to pursue a two-track approach of sanctions and diplomacy to force Iran to give up its uranium enrichment activities.
Antsy Israeli officials insist that their own security concerns mandate a more aggressive approach.
“The world tells Israel ‘Wait, there’s still time’. And I say, ‘Wait for what? Wait until when?’ Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel,” Netanyahu said Tuesday at a joint press conference with visiting Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov.
Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders have repeatedly warned of preemptive air strikes on Iran’s nuclear sites to stop its uranium enrichment activities, although the Islamic republic insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.
Obama, however, is hardly in the mood to see an armed conflict over Iran in the midst of a hotly contested election campaign in which he is seeking a second term in November.
The Israeli threat to unilaterally act is not to be taken lightly. The Israeli Air Force (IAF) is credited for having bombed nuclear reactors in both Iraq (1981) and Syria (2007) in an attempt to keep nearby enemy countries from attaining offensive nuclear capabilities.
The Israeli government has never acknowledged having any role in either attack.