Obama: Military strikes might be needed to stop Iran's nuclear program

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    Mar 04, 2012 7:07 PM GMT
    Peres: There is no U.S.-Israel divide on Iran nuclear issue
    President Shimon Peres addresses AIPAC conference in Washington; says peace with the Palestinians can and must be achieved.


    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/peres-there-is-no-u-s-israel-divide-on-iran-nuclear-issue-1.416395

    WASHINGTON - Against the backdrop of tensions between the U.S. and Israel over the Iranian nuclear issue, President Shimon Peres on Sunday expressed complete faith in ties between the two countries.

    ..."The United States and Israel share the same goal, to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon," Peres said.

    ...Peres praised Obama for his policies that have included the imposition of economic and political sanctions on Iran.

    "President Obama made it clear that the U.S. will not permit Iran to become nuclear," Peres said, adding that Obama has also made it clear that "all options are on the table".

    Peres talked about his meetings with U.S. presidents over the years, both Democrats and Republicans. He said that U.S. support for Israel has been bipartisan and that Israel is grateful for that support.

    Peres said that Obama's care and devotion to Israel's security have been evident.

    "Mr. President, I know your commitment to Israel is deep and profound," Peres said. "Under your leadership, security cooperation between the U.S. and Israel has reached its highest level. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a friend in the White House. He reflects the values that make American great and make Israel secure. Thank you President Obama on behalf of my people."

    Peres said that Israel started as a "doubt" but today is a "certainty".

    "We had to fight six wars in six decades," Peres said. "We did not lose one. We never will. We cannot afford it. Self-defense is our right and obligation."

    Turning to the Iranian regime, Peres said: "Iran is an evil, cruel, morally corrupt regime. It is based on destruction and is an affront to human dignity. Iran is the center, the sponsor, the financer of world terror. Iran is a danger to the entire world. It threatens Berlin as well as Madrid, Delhi as well as Bangkok. Not just Israel."

    "Iran’s ambition is to control the Middle East, so it can control a major part of the world’s economy. It must be stopped. And it will be stopped."

    "Israel experienced the horrors of war. It does not seek it. Peace is always our first option, but, if we are forced to fight, trust me…we shall prevail."

    On the stalled peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, Peres said that the current Palestinian leadership, headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, is a partner for peace.

    "The Palestinians are our neighbors for life," Peres said. "Peace can and must be achieved. A peace based on a two-state solution, a Jewish state - Israel, and an Arab state - Palestine."
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    Mar 05, 2012 1:53 PM GMT
    From Obama's speech:

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2012/03/04/national/a104318S28.DTL&type=printable

    I have said that 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. That includes all elements of American power: a political effort aimed at isolating Iran, a diplomatic effort to sustain our coalition and ensure that the Iranian program is monitored, an economic effort that imposes crippling sanctions and, yes, a military effort to be prepared for any contingency.

    Iran's leaders should understand that I do not have a policy of containment; I have a policy to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. And as I have made clear time and again during the course of my presidency, I will not hesitate to use force when it is necessary to defend the United States and its interests.

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    Mar 05, 2012 5:27 PM GMT
    Furthermore, it looks as if Obama has given Israel a green light:
    Israeli leaders also know all too well the costs and consequences of war, even as they recognize their obligation to defend their country.

    We all prefer to resolve this issue diplomatically. Having said that, Iran's leaders should have no doubt about the resolve of the United States — just as they should not doubt Israel's sovereign right to make its own decisions about what is required to meet its security needs.
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    Mar 06, 2012 8:38 PM GMT
    Iran boasts that if Israel mounts a pre-emptive strike, it will unleash its minions of terrorists.

    Now, one of those groups speaks out:

    Hamas rules out military support for Iran in any war with Israel
    Senior figures say Gaza-based Islamic militants would not launch rockets into Israel at request of Tehran, a key sponsor


    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/mar/06/hamas-no-military-aid-for-iran



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    Mar 06, 2012 8:40 PM GMT
    "If there is a war between two powers, Hamas will not be part of such a war," Salah Bardawil, a member of the organisation's political bureau in Gaza City, told the Guardian."

    Ok, that's some progress.
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    Mar 09, 2012 4:09 AM GMT
    Satellite images show Iran cleaning secret nuclear activity, sources say
    Diplomat tells Associated Press alleged testing at site could indicate attempt to develop nuclear arms; other sources say images show vehicles at site, indicating crews trying to clean it of radioactive traces.


    http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/satellite-images-show-iran-cleaning-secret-nuclear-activity-sources-say-1.417182
    By Associated Press

    Diplomats say spy satellite images of an Iranian military facility show trucks and earth-moving vehicles at the site that indicate crews were trying to clean it of radioactive traces.

    Two of the diplomats told The Associated Press that those traces could have come from what they said was the testing of a small neutron trigger used to set off a nuclear explosion. A third diplomat could not confirm that, but says any testing of a so-called neutron initiator at the site could only be in the context of trying to develop nuclear arms.

    Iran faces growing international pressure over its nuclear program, which it insists is peaceful. Israel has hinted that it might resort to a pre-emptive military strike to stop Tehran's program.

    The diplomatic account came only a day after the ISNA news agency reported that Iran indicated that it would give the UN nuclear watchdog access to the Parchin complex.

    An International Atomic Energy Agency report last year said that Iran had built a large containment chamber at Parchin, southeast of Tehran, to conduct explosives tests that are "strong indicators" of efforts to develop an atom bomb.

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    Mar 10, 2012 7:54 PM GMT
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/09/world/middleeast/in-israel-pondering-iranian-threat-but-taking-panic-off-the-table.html?_r=1&ref=middleeast
    perhaps only half in jest, Israelis set up a Facebook page exhorting Mr. Netanyahu not to attack Iran until after the Madonna concert scheduled for May 29 in Tel Aviv.
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    Mar 13, 2012 3:24 PM GMT
    U.S. senator calls for naval blockade of Iran
    Chairman of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee says blockade should precede military action, in bid to pressure Iran to cease its drive for nuclear weapons.


    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/u-s-senator-calls-for-naval-blockade-of-iran-1.417611

    An international naval blockade of Iranian oil exports should be considered before any resort to air strikes against the country's disputed nuclear program, the chairman of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee said on Friday.

    "That's, I think, one option that needs to be considered" to boost pressure on Iran to curb its nuclear program in line with UN Security Council resolutions, Democratic Senator Carl Levin said in an interview taped for C-SPAN's "Newsmakers" program.

    He said any such blockade should be preceded by lining up alternative oil supplies to avoid a price spike on world crude markets. Iran is OPEC's second-largest oil producer and the world's third-largest petroleum exporter.

    Levin was responding to a question about possible ways of increasing pressure short of combat, including imposition of a "no-fly zone" over Iran.

    Such moves "could be very effective," he said. "I think (these are) options that whoever is willing to participate should explore, including Israel and including the United States."

    Iran is widely suspected of enriching uranium, and other activities, as a prelude to building nuclear weapons. Tehran says the program is aimed at producing civilian nuclear power.

    The international response to Iran's nuclear program has evolved into a widespread consensus for substantial sanctions and other pressure, paired with incentives and diplomacy, to head off the possible development of nuclear arms.
    Israeli leaders have said, however, that time is running out before they could feel compelled to launch military strikes to stop or delay the program.

    Levin voiced optimism that increasingly strict sanctions, including an oil purchase embargo by the European Union to take full effect by July 1, might force Iran to relent.

    "Not because it doesn't want a nuke - I think it does - but because the price that it's going to have to pay" in terms of isolation would be too high, said Levin, whose committee has an oversight role for the U.S. Defense Department.

    Levin said he would not be surprised if Israel, which regards a nuclear-armed Iran as a threat to its existence, took military action within "months."

    "I would say that a strike is likely" if Iran continues to refuse to curb its nuclear program, he added. He said U.S.-supported Israeli missile defense programs had undercut Iran's ability to retaliate against Israel for any strike.

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    Mar 19, 2012 2:21 PM GMT
    Poll: Most Americans would back US strike over Iran nuclear weapon
    56 pct support US military action if Iran had nuclear weapon


    http://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNews/idAFL2E8EDKS420120313

    A majority of Americans would support U.S. military action against Iran if there were evidence that Tehran is building nuclear weapons, even if such action led to higher gasoline prices, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Tuesday.

    The poll showed 56 percent of Americans would support U.S. military action against Iran if there were evidence of a nuclear weapon program. Thirty-nine percent of Americans opposed military strikes.

    Asked whether they would back U.S. military action if it led to higher gasoline prices, 53 percent of Americans said they would, while 42 percent said they would not.

    The Reuters/Ipsos poll also found that 62 percent of Americans would back Israel taking military action against Iran for the same reasons.

    U.S. President Barack Obama has said all options are on the table in dealing with Iran's nuclear program, but he has encouraged Israel to give sanctions against Iran more time to have an effect.
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    Mar 20, 2012 4:25 PM GMT
    Obama in 2004: Military strikes might be needed to stop Iran's nuclear program
    As U.S. Senate candidate in 2004, Barack Obama said he would choose military intervention over allowing Iran to obtain nuclear weapons


    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/obama-in-2004-military-strikes-might-be-needed-to-stop-iran-s-nuclear-program-1.419380

    In a 2004 interview with the Chicago Tribune editorial board, Barack Obama, who was then running for the U.S. Senate, said that military strikes might be necessary to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, the BuzzFeed website reported on Sunday.

    As U.S. president, a post to which he was elected in 2008, Obama has stated a preference for a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear issue. But in 2004, Obama said that he would choose military intervention over allowing Iran to acquire nuclear weapons.

    "The big question is going to be, if Iran is resistant to these pressures, including economic sanctions, which I hope will be imposed if they do not cooperate, at what point are we going to, if any, are we going to take military action?" Obama said in 2004.

    "In light of the fact that we're now in Iraq, with all the problems in terms of perceptions about America that have been created, us launching some missile strikes into Iran is not the optimal position for us to be in," Obama said.

    "On the other hand, having a radical Muslim theocracy in possession of nuclear weapons is worse. So I guess my instinct would be to err on not having those weapons in the possession of the ruling clerics of Iran. ... And I hope it doesn't get to that point. But realistically, as I watch how this thing has evolved, I'd be surprised if Iran blinked at this point."

    Last Wednesday, Obama said the window for a diplomatic solution with Iran over its nuclear program was "shrinking," and he encouraged Iran to seize the opportunity of talks with world powers to avert "even worse consequences."

    Obama, speaking at a press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron, insisted there is still "time and space" for a diplomatic solution, in lieu of a military strike to set back Iran's progress toward a possible bomb, but said "the window for diplomacy is shrinking."