Obama warns over Iran's nuclear programme: "I don't bluff"
President Barack Obama has warned that he could deploy the US military against Iran's nuclear programme, while assuring Israel that Washington had the country's interests at heart, in an interview published Friday, dpa reported.
Obama said that all options were on the table to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, including political, economic and diplomatic measures.
"It includes a military component," he told Atlantic magazine. "And I think people understand that."
The interview was published ahead of a visit next week in Washington by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, amid fierce speculation over the possibility of an Israeli military strike against Iran.
"I think that the Israeli government recognizes that, as president of the United States, I don't bluff," Obama said, in remarks aimed at persuading Israel not to take unilateral military action.
"I also don't, as a matter of sound policy, go around advertising exactly what our intentions are. But I think both the Iranian and the Israeli governments recognize that when the United States says it is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon, we mean what we say."
"Preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon isn't just in the interest of Israel, it is profoundly in the security interests of the United States," the president said.
Netanyahu, who was meeting Friday in Ottawa with Canadian Premier Stephen Harper, refused to rule out an Israeli attack against Iran.
"Israel, like any sovereign nation, reserves the right to defend itself against a state which calls for, and works towards, its destruction," he told reporters.
Netanyahu called Iran's nuclear weapons programme a "threat to the peace and security of the world" and said it was important that the international community did not allow this threat to be realized.
Israel regards Iran as its biggest existential threat, because of Iran's nuclear weapons programme, coupled with repeated statements by President Mahmoud Ahamdinejad and other Iranian leaders, that the Jewish state should cease to exist.