Obama accepts Israel won't defer to US on Iran strike

US President Barack Obama said on Wednesday he does not expect Israel to defer to Washington on the question of how to handle the Iranian nuclear threat or whether to order military action against its facilities.

Speaking at a joint news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Obama said there was no greater decision for a leader than to give the "awesome" decision to order military action.

"I would not expect the prime minister to make a decision about his country's security and defer that to any other country," he said.

"I don't know whether they are going to take that step," he added, noting that Israel's relative geographic proximity to Iran would naturally give it a different perspective on the threat compared with Washington.