Netanyahu, Obama talk tough on Iran

2012-03-06 07:40

Washington - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told US President Barack Obama on Monday that Israel must remain the "master of its fate", in a firm defence of his right to mount a unilateral strike on Iran.

Obama assured Netanyahu he had Israel's "back" but also stressed before Oval Office talks that he saw a "window" for diplomacy, despite rampant speculation Israel could soon mount high risk go-it-alone military action.

The leaders, who have had a famously testy relationship, met for two hours of talks amid clear signs of differences on the imminence of the perceived Iranian nuclear threat, if not its ultimate danger to both nations.

Obama is also facing a curtain of Republican fire on Iran as he cranks up his re-election campaign from opponents who accuse him of appeasement and of deserting America's closest Middle Eastern ally.


In an impassioned on-camera statement, Netanyahu told Obama: "Israel must have the ability always to defend itself, by itself, against any threat.

"That's why my supreme responsibility as prime minister of Israel is to ensure that Israel remains the master of its fate," said Netanyahu.

The Obama administration has signalled that it does not yet believe Iran has taken a choice to develop a nuclear weapon, or that the time is right for military action, preferring to give biting new sanctions time to work.

Israel, which sees an Iranian nuclear weapon as a threat to its existence, however believes that Iran may be on the cusp of "break out" capacity - the moment when it could quickly produce weapons-grade uranium.

A senior US official said that Washington now believed after the meeting that Netanyahu understood that Obama was deeply serious about preventing Iran acquiring nuclear weapons.

An Israeli official commented that Israeli concerns were now also widely understood, but did not elaborate.

In the days before Netanyahu arrived, Obama bolstered his rhetoric on Iran - making clear he did not "bluff" and would order military if necessary, but refused to set public "red lines" for action.

The US official said the administration believed it would have up to a year to decide on how to respond should Iran decide to begin enriching uranium to weapons-grade quality. Israel does not share that timetable.


In a nod to the tragic history of the Jewish people, Obama recognised that it was "unacceptable" for Israel to tolerate Iran developing a nuclear weapon after calling for its destruction.

And despite slamming "loose talk" about war on Sunday in a speech to the top pro-Israel lobby AIPAC, Obama said his intent was prevention, and not living with an Iranian bomb.

"I reserve all options and my policy here is not going to be one of containment.

"My policy is prevention of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons ... when I say all options are on the table, I mean it," Obama said.

But the president, seeking to preserve a way out for Iran short of war, said he believed a diplomatic solution was still possible.

"We do believe there is still a window that allows for a diplomatic resolution to this issue."

Washington fears that an early, pre-emptive strike from Israel could trigger a fierce reaction from Iran, unleash regional turmoil, endanger US troops in the region and drag Washington into a new war.

It is also uncertain whether Israel possesses sufficient military capacity to end Iran's underground pursuit of the nuclear arsenal it denies seeking, and could at best set back the programme just a few years.

Israel meanwhile is worried that despite their potency, increasingly tough US and European sanctions on Iran and its central bank and vital petroleum industry will not convince Tehran to renounce a nuclear arsenal.

Oil price

The Islamic Republic denies it is seeking nuclear weapons.

Washington also warns that tensions over Iran benefit the Islamic Republic by hiking the price of oil, and rock energy markets in a way that could crimp the slow yet building economic recovery.

Officials from both sides said that despite their differences in the past, the meeting between Obama and Netanyahu went ahead in a productive atmosphere.

The nuclear stand-off has pushed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into the background, although Obama did raise the stalled talks.

He pledged to work for "a calmer set of discussions between the Israelis and the Palestinians" in a bid to seek a "peaceful resolution to that long-standing conflict".

Later, Netanyahu courted Israel's backers in the US Congress. Speaking to around 13 000 delegates at a conference of the top pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC, Netanyahu asked them to pay homage to the solidly supportive US legislature.

"I want to ask the 13 000 supporters of the state of Israel to stand up and applaud the representatives of the United States," he said, prompting a standing ovation.

"Democrats and Republicans alike, I salute your unwavering support for the Jewish people," he added.

Netanyahu will meet Congressional leaders on Tuesday, winding up a two-day visit to the United States.

  • Wt - 2012-03-06 08:02

    We are on the brink of world war 3

      Fidel - 2012-03-06 08:24

      Because of a deliberately mistranslated speech made by the Iranian leader? Inherent in US military doctrine, the victims of war are heralded as the aggressors.

      Dirk - 2012-03-06 08:41

      It was only mistranslated in your head and after the Iranian terrorist states spin doctors tried to cover up. God bless Israel and its people. You dont negotiate with barbarian terrorists- you destroy them.

      Fidel - 2012-03-06 08:45

      "Imam ghoft een rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods bayad az safheh-ye ruzgar mahv shavad." Ahmedinejad Word by word translation: Imam (Khomeini) ghoft (said) een (this) rezhim-e (regime) ishghalgar-e (occupying) qods (Jerusalem) bayad (must) az safheh-ye ruzgar (from page of time) mahv shavad (vanish from). One cannot wipe a regime off the map. Ahmadinejad does not even refer to Israel by name, he instead uses the specific phrase "rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods" (regime occupying Jerusalem). The Persian word for map, "nagsheh", is not contained anywhere in his original farsi quote, or, for that matter, anywhere in his entire speech. This is the kind of monstrous, barefaced lying of which only zionists are capable of!

      Ashuvha - 2012-03-06 09:01

      Dirk you are an idiot.There is no israel,but there is Palestine.

      Fidel - 2012-03-06 09:03

      The REGIME occupying Moscow (Soviet) disappeared from the pages of time and the world rejoiced. The REGIME occupying Pretoria (Apartheid) also disappeared from the pages of time and the world also rejoiced. Both the Afrikaners and the Russians are still here, and no one has "wiped them off the face of the world".

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-03-06 09:03

      So what was he talking about , never-neverland ? Fantasia ? Was he delusional ?

      Fidel - 2012-03-06 09:11

      @Ninja Look it up, I'm under no obligation to educate you. Do your own research and let's see how dedicated you are to finding the truth since you speak on its behalf.

      Hoosen Essa - 2012-03-06 09:31

      Dirk, wake up!!! Iran has never waged war or invaded a country in 300yrs, america and Israel hav done so for many years. its idiots like u that are so ignorant and arrogant that u will never comprehend the injustice and double standards by the west and Israel. I've yet to see america promote democracy when i see it defending the citizens in syria but supporting dictators and neglecting the sitizens in Bahrain. Israel is a Threat to itself. america spends billions to defend and develope Israel, in return for what??????

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-03-06 09:48

      Iran/Iraq war ?

      Neutedop - 2012-03-06 09:54

      Fidel - Comfortable to only take ONE speech? Well, regarding that same speech: All official translations of Mr. Ahmadinejad's statement, including a description of it on his website, refer to wiping Israel away. Sohrab Mahdavi, one of Iran’s most prominent translators, and Siamak Namazi, managing director of a Tehran consulting firm, who is bilingual, both say “wipe off” or “wipe away” is more accurate than "vanish" because the Persian verb is active and transitive.

      Dirk - 2012-03-06 10:08

      Oh, I notice that Ali Baba and his 40 thieves have made their appearance to lend their support for the Iranian terrorist regime. I must wake up? That is exactly why I see Iran for what it is- a barbaric terrorist state. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob(3 generations) gave ISRAEL to the Jewish people, not the Philistines, consisting of refugees from all the surrounding arab states. May the Living God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, protect and bless the State of Israel

      Fidel - 2012-03-06 10:08

      Lets put semantics aside. A country is about to be attacked because of what its enemies think it might have said. Ahmedinejad's or Iran's demonisation is based on what he said in his native language, translated by the NY Times, which inserted the word Israel in brackets next to the word regime. Iran is being demonised because it refuses to be a supplecant of western powers and is challenging US/Israeli hegemony in the region and setting a dangerous example to other Muslims, especially in the Gulf states.

      Fidel - 2012-03-06 12:27

      "Wipe off the map" has in fact become yet another effort by Israel to monopolise the victim status. It is Iran that is daily threatened by Israel and the US with military attacks, and in fact it is Iran that suffered over 60,000 casualties from the use of real, actual WDMs(chemical weapons provided to Saddam by the US and used with the connivance of the US) so the effort to portray Iran as the aggressor, is ridiculous.

      Fred - 2012-03-06 16:41

      When Fidel says things are one way, it's almost guaranteed they're exactly the opposite. He has an almost perfect record in this regard.

  • Bobo - 2012-03-06 08:04

    It might sound childish.... But I think the only way for the world to unite would be an alien invation from space threatening our verry own existence, or will even that not be enough ?

      Fidel - 2012-03-06 08:22

      The US and her allies are acting out of fear of losing their grip on the world. Face this reality and only then can a new generation of intelligent Homo Sapiens plan a safe future.

      Dirk - 2012-03-06 08:42

      Fidel- With what I have seen of you, it would exclude you.

  • Fidel - 2012-03-06 08:06

    I find it amazing that countries with nuclear weapons feel so morally superior to countries without, ready to preach and pontificate about morals and safety whilst standing up to their necks in it.

      DuToitCoetzee - 2012-03-06 08:44

      True Fidel. The one side you have those, but also on the other side you have those that wants to enforce their morality/ideas on people through also using means and ways of taking rights away and will also end up with the destruction of humankind. ....and softly in the back ground I can hear the radio plays...what a wonderful world......

      Fred - 2012-03-08 16:40

      WIth the exception of the Russian and Chinese regimes, they do have higher moral values. It is glaringly obvious. For example, women don't get stoned to death for being attractive in the US, France, the UK or US. These governments don't adjust election results when they don't like the outcome. They don't fund people who routinely blow themselves up in public places killing and maiming hundreds of thousands of people to try and terrorize the population into going backwards.

  • Guy - 2012-03-06 08:40

    I think it is extremely worrying that Israel is allowed to shout its mouth of when it is NOT a signatory on the UN Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Iran has signed and ratified this treaty. Israel has NEVER allowed IAEA inspectors into their country to inspect their Nuclear arsenal, Iran has allowed this. Why is Israel allowed to point fingers? We are marching towards war - and the media are the ones banging the drums - it feels like 2001 all over again... We cannot believe everything we hear as verbatim. Do your own research, form your own opinion - Do not live in Dogma!!

      Fidel - 2012-03-06 08:48

      Spot on, people are afraid to use their own brains and instead rely on hired commentators to do the thinking for them. Or there's some sort of cognitive dissonance at work.

      Greg - 2012-03-06 09:09

      I'm happy to see people waking up! :)

      Dirk - 2012-03-06 10:14

      Israel has never threatened another country with nuclear arms. On the other hand, Iran is a terrorist state. Who would feel comfortable to allow a small child to play with a machine gun?

      Africa21stcentury - 2012-03-06 10:37

      Are we not soo lucky to have this brilliant racist to show us the way !!!!!

      Dirk - 2012-03-06 11:18

      Anti- "Zionist" or anti-Persian? The cobwebs between your ear is racist. I gather then, that you are also a misguided supporter of the racist and corrupt ANC regime?

      Fred - 2012-03-06 18:35

      Israel is under daily threat by the UNELECTED dictators of the Middle East who are using her and the Palestinians to distract their populations from their disenfranchised state, and to hold onto power. The Jewish people were the subject of the greatest attempt at human genocide in the history of humankind. Unless you've been through this, or live under those conditions, you don't fully understand what it means.

      Fred - 2012-03-07 06:55

      They have lots of them. Period. You know why. Because the Jewish people were nearly exterminated. SIX MILLION Jewish people killed in the matter of a few years. Having gone through that, they will NEVER let that happen again, or even come close. Your pals, the UNELECTED dictators of the Middle East who threaten to destroy Israel almost daily, and use the Palestinians to distract their populations from their disenfranchised state, don't stand a chance. And they know it. That's why they just bluster. They're quite satisfied doing this because it satisfies their needs, to create the external decoy that helps them hold onto power. The problem is the Palestinians suffer the most. But these dictators don't realky care. Or they would have given the Palestinians the few neighborhoods they need from the vast land they control. Israel has lots of nuclear weapons. And they should, given their history and the rogue regimes that surround them.

  • Greg - 2012-03-06 09:08

    Israel has a HUGE amount Nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and they do NOT allow inspectors to audit their Weapons. Iran is not an aggressive country, How about some fair, honest and non biased reporting News24? I guess you are pro Zionism too, you don't have a choice but to do as you are told.

      DuToitCoetzee - 2012-03-06 09:37

      Don't be fooled Greg. Israel is not an angel and when you fight to secure your own foot-hole in life you tend on loose prospective, but Iran is also a player. They do fund and organized things that are not acceptable. No, I am not following western propaganda, but neither am I stupid. They also play the game of "we are a power and do not take us on, but we do nothing to become it". "No, we only wants to create power". That is playing in the hands of the "big bullie" and his "commandant" in the Mid-East. To comment on those two one must be very careful because the truth gets twisted like a spring to suits them both or all 3 of them.

      Fred - 2012-03-08 16:43

      DuToit, you have to have a moral compass based on high values and principles. Without this one gets twisted and can't see the higher ground. I think this is what you're doing. Why else would you not see the obvious differences in morals between a backward, oppressive, rogue regime and the oldest democracies on Earth.

  • Martin - 2012-03-06 09:22


      Fred - 2012-03-08 16:43

      So dumb and boring. In upper-case too.

  • Aaron - 2012-03-06 09:23

    Iran has never waged a war with any country recently. Isreal has waged a war with all its neighbours and has a huge nuclear arsenal. the greatest danger to humanity is the zionist APARHEID RACIST ENTITY called isreal. it needs to be destroyed but with leaders like netanyahoooo it will self destruct. then there will be peace in the middle east,.

      Fidel - 2012-03-06 09:59

      Who was the aggressor in that war, being egged on by who? What had happened in Iran prior to that? Read history and you will see who the aggressors or instigators have always been.

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-03-06 10:55

      Iraq invaded and Khomeini extended the war into Iraq.

      Fidel - 2012-03-06 11:01

      What should he have done, let the Iraqi troops march into Tehran?

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-03-06 11:04

      Of course the oil-rich Khuzestan province had nothing to do with it. Anyway one of the many atrocities started by the tyrant Hussein , the world is better without him around.

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-03-06 11:20

      No but they repelled them and then took the war into Iraq despite opposition from Iran revolutionary commanders, the army was right to say no considering the position the country was in post revolution but they could have prevented considerable more conflict in the future had they pressed the advantage and ousted Hussein . The very same dilemma the Americans faced in the first gulf war but were prevented from following the retreating Iraqi army from Kuwait.

      Fidel - 2012-03-06 11:29

      Using your own logic is it safe to say then that the Red Army should have ended the war with Germany when the Wehremacht crossed into Germany. We are both not military strategist and as such shouldn't be confusing this argument with military strategic manouvres. Iran was attacked and it took the war to the Iraqis. A defensive strategy!

      Fred - 2012-03-06 16:45

      I like the way you insert the word "recently". Funny. And of course you overlook the rogue Iranian regime's rabid and plainly stated desire to eliminate Israel, its denial of the Holocaust which was the single biggest attempt at genocide in human history, its funding of terrorism, its abuse of the Palestinians who launch attacks on Israel almost daily. And why do you choose to use so many different aliases? Why not just be honest and use one?

      Fidel - 2012-03-06 16:50

      Let me know when you've decided to come out of the sand box!

      Fred - 2012-03-08 16:44

      That doesn't nullify the completely wrong perspective you have. But it does keep you performing a valuable function of displaying the wrong end of the thought-spectrum.

  • Fidel - 2012-03-06 13:17

    Weapons inspectors into Iran - and Israel. Any arguments against?

  • Ebrahim - 2012-03-06 14:13

    Dirk, jus like god gave SA to the Afrikaaner, right?

  • Fred - 2012-03-06 16:49

    Note that Fidel, Aaron, Michael and the few other Islamists (distinct from truer Muslims) who blog on this site don't say a word about the INTENTIONAL killing of HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of civilians by Al-Quaida and the Taliban in Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa and elsewhere with their car and suicide bombs in public places. This is either media hype, or somehow the responsibility of the so-called West who are victimizing Muslims. They use the same measuring stick with Iran. So beware.

  • Jaba - 2012-03-06 19:03

    what all these anti Israel pro Iran Islamists don't get is that if Iran attacks after going nuclear they can kiss the Kaaba & Mecca goodbye cause the whole Mid East will go up in flames while 200 million will die - and the radio active ground will make the area uninhabitable for 2000 years... so stand up for Iran & the right for crazy fundamentalists to have nuclear weapons - and place that knife tight in your own back. sand...

      Fred - 2012-03-08 16:49

      That explains a lot Patrick. If you don't hate, you don't have a strong moral compass. No wonder you can't really see the cruelty and evil that is happening in Syria, and to women in Iran.

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