News

    Obama: Window Remains for Peaceful Solution to Iran Nuclear Issue

    U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, March 5, 2012
    U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, March 5, 2012

    President Barack Obama says he believes there is still time to achieve a peaceful solution to the Iran nuclear issue, but that Iran's leaders need to make a decision to forsake pursuit of nuclear weapons. Mr. Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed Iran, troubled Israel-Palestinian peace efforts, and the Arab Spring during a meeting at the White House.   

    It was their first face to face meeting since May of last year, when developments in the Arab Spring dominated the world's attention, along with frustrations in the Israel-Palestinian peace process.

    The main issue in Monday's discussions was Iran's nuclear program and how much time remains for diplomacy and sanctions to turn Iran away from what the U.S. and Israel believe is a course toward developing a nuclear weapon.

    In remarks to reporters before the talks, President Obama said it is unacceptable "for Israel to have a country with a nuclear weapon that has called for its destruction."

    Describing the U.S. commitment to Israel's security as "rock solid," Mr. Obama reiterated his view that more time is needed for sanctions and other pressure on Iran to work.

    "We do believe that there is still a window that allows for a diplomatic resolution to this issue, but ultimately the Iranian regime has to make a decision to move in that direction, a decision that they have not made thus far," said the president.

    Mr. Obama said dangers of a nuclear-armed Iran include a possible nuclear arms race in the region, a nuclear weapon falling into the hands of terrorists, or a regime that has been a state sponsor of terrorism "feeling it can act even more aggressively or with impunity as a consequence of its nuclear power."

    Pressure on Iran will be tightened, he said, adding he reserves all options. Mr. Obama repeated that his policy is not containment, but prevention of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons.

    There was no direct mention of so-called "red lines," steps by Iran, such as specific movement toward building a nuclear weapon, that might trigger military action by Israel or the United States.

    But Prime Minister Netanyahu stressed what he called longstanding principles in the U.S.-Israel relationship, including recognition that Israel has a right to act on its own to preserve its security.

    "Israel must have the ability always to defend itself by itself, against any threat, and that when it comes to Israel's security, Israel has the right, the sovereign right, to make its own decisions," said Netanyahu. "I believe that is why you appreciate, Mr. President, that Israel must reserve right to defend itself."

    Mr. Netanyahu said his "supreme responsibility" is to ensure that "Israel remains the master of its fate."

    President Obama said he and Prime Minister Netanyahu prefer to resolve the issue diplomatically, understanding the costs of any military action.

    Offering what he called an "assurance" to the American and Israeli peoples, he said the U.S. and Israel will be in "close, constant consultation" during what he said he expects will be "a series of difficult months, I suspect, in 2012."

    The talks came as the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said his agency has "serious concerns" about possible military dimensions of Iran's nuclear program.

    President Obama also mentioned what he called "incredible" changes in the Middle East and North Africa, "terrible bloodshed" in Syria, and democratic transition in Egypt. Israel, he said, remains an island of democracy in the midst of all of this.

    Mr. Obama said he would discuss with Mr. Netanyahu how to "potentially bring about a calmer set of discussions" between Israelis and Palestinians for a peaceful solution of their conflict, something he said the Israeli leader remains committed to achieving.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora