OTTAWA (AFP) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday hailed US President Barack Obama for again refusing to rule out military force to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
Speaking in Canada before he visits Washington for talks with Obama on Monday, Netanyahu also expressed satisfaction that Obama told a pro-Israel lobby that Washington will help Israel defend itself against any threat.
“I very much appreciated the fact that President Obama reiterated his position that Iran must not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons and that all options are on the table,” Netanyahu told reporters in Ottawa.
“I also appreciated the fact that he made clear that when it comes to nuclear-armed Iran, containment is simply not an option,” the Israeli premier said.
“Equally and in my judgment perhaps most important of all, I appreciate the fact that he said Israel must be able to defend itself, by itself, against any threat,” Netanyahu said.
“I appreciate all these statements and look forward to discussing them further with president Obama tomorrow,” he said.
In his speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington, Obama warned Iran’s leaders that he would not hesitate to use force, if required, to stop it developing a nuclear weapon.
“Iran’s leaders should know that I do not have a policy of containment; I have a policy to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” he said.
“And as I’ve 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,” he said.
He also said Washington would continue to underwrite Israel’s right to defend itself.
“We will do what it takes to preserve Israel’s qualitative military edge — because Israel must always have the ability to defend itself, by itself, against any threat,” he said.