No military solution to Iran's nuclear programme: Obama tells Israel
Jerusalem, Jun 2: US President Barack Obama has told skeptical Israelis that a deal between Iran and world powers is the only way to prevent Tehran from obtaining nuclear weapons, and that "a military solution will not fix."
Contending that a military action against Iran can only slow down its nuclear programme but not "eliminate" it, Obama said that only a negotiated agreement with the Islamic Republic can prevent it from acquiring nuclear capability.
"I can, I think, demonstrate, not based on any hope but on facts and evidence and analysis, that the best way to prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon is a verifiable, tough agreement," Obama told Israel's Channel 2 in an attempt to reach out directly to the Israeli public on the contentious issue.
"A military solution will not fix it. Even if the United States participates, it would temporarily slow down an Iranian nuclear program but it will not eliminate it," the US President stressed, according to the excerpts of the programme released for viewing.
The US leader, who has been constantly at loggerheads with Israeli leadership on the issue, made the remarks just ahead of the end-of-June deadline for an Iranian deal being worked out by P5+1 countries comprising of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany.
Israel has threatened to "keep all options open on the table" to foil Iran's nuclear ambitions in veiled threats of an airstrike describing the emerging deal as "a bad deal".
The Iranian nuclear issue has been at the centre of a major dispute between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Obama with both the leaders not missing out on opportunities to hit out at each other.
Israel has described Iran's nuclear programme as an existential threat vowing to stop it any cost while Tehran has maintained that its programme is for peaceful purposes.
The proposed deal being worked out between P5+1 and Iran is said to put a freeze on Iran's nuclear programme for a decade, in return for relief on economic sanctions that have strangled its economy.
Israel has been demanding for toughening the sanctions without giving any concessions on the programme.
When asked how he would respond if Israel were to act militarily without notifying him, Obama quipped that he "won't speculate on that." "I understand your concerns and I understand your fears," he said in efforts to calm down the Israeli public which has been increasingly skeptical regarding the success of the deal.