Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told President Barack Obama that Israel must remain "master of its fate," as they met at the White House today, according to the BBC.
Obama told Netanyahu that a nuclear Iran would be "unacceptable" to the US. The two leaders met to reinforce Israel and America's ties and discuss their concerted efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, reported CNN.
Obama reiterated that both leaders would prefer a diplomatic solution, but said, "The United States will always have Israel’s back," according to Politico.
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The meeting came a day after Obama's speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a pro-Israel lobbying group, during which he sought to reassure Israel that America would not tolerate a nuclear Iran, and would keep the military option available.
However, Obama warned of "too much loose talk of war," saying, "Over the last few weeks such talk has only benefited the Iranian government by driving up the price of oil, which they depend on to fund their nuclear program. For the sake of Israel’s security, America’s security and the peace and security of the world, now is not the time for bluster," according to The New York Times.
In a statement issued after Obama's speech, Netanyahu expressed appreciation for Obama's statement that a "military effort" was still an option in dealing with Iran, stating that, "perhaps most important of all, I appreciated the fact that he said that Israel must be able to defend itself, by itself, against any threat," reported CNN.
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Obama and Netanyahu, who have disagreed on Middle East policy in the past, were set to address talks of Iran and "a range of strategic issues of mutual concern," according to the BBC. "In May 2011, during a visit to Washington, correspondents widely noted the frosty body language between the two leaders."
Their disagreement on Iran, centers around the red lines that Tehran cannot cross before action is taken. Obama's stance is that Iran should not possess a nuclear weapon, whereas Netanyahu would stop Iran before it even had the capablity to make a nuclear weapon, noted the BBC's North America editor Mark Mardell.
Daniel Levy, a former Israeli peace negotiator who now heads the Middle East Task Force for the New America Foundation, told The Los Angeles Times, "It is fair to speculate he does not want to appear to be on the same page exactly as President Obama, given that Netanyahu's closest friends and supporters in the U.S. are overtly aligned against the president and his re-election bid."
However, during their latest meeting both leaders emphasized their agreement on key issues. Netanyahu said, "Americans know that Israel and the United States share common values, that we defend common interests, that we face common enemies. Iran’s leaders know that, too. For them, you’re the Great Satan, we’re the Little Satan. For them, we are you and you’re us. And you know something, Mr. President — at least on this last point, I think they’re right. We are you, and you are us. We’re together," according to The Wall Street Journal's transcript.
Israeli newspaper Haaretz said that Netanyahu told reporters that the international community is united against the treat of a nuclear Iran, stating, "We managed to convince the international community that we are talking about a real threat and danger." He also added that "What the President said outside, in front of the cameras, that is what he said in the meeting."
Earlier on Monday, Director General Yukia Amano of the International Atomic Energy Agency reiterated that the agency was unable to confirm whether Iran's nuclear development is peaceful or not, according to CNN.
Below is a video of Obama and Netanyahu talking at the White House:
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