In an extensive interview, President Obama said he will try to “persuade the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to postpone whatever plans he may have to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities in the coming months.”
Israeli leaders have repeatedly complained that public statements from U.S. officials are insufficiently supportive of going to war with Iran over its nuclear enrichment program, which the best available intelligence has found is purely civilian in nature. Obama said, “I think that the Israeli government recognizes that, as president of the United States, I don’t bluff.” He went on, “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.”
Obama will also point to crippling economic sanctions, diplomatic isolation, covert war, and military encirclement of Iran to reassure Netanyahu that he is tough on Iran. Unfortunately, staying on that course will almost surely lead to war, as it has in the past.