Obama, Netanyahu Discuss Iran in Phone Call
President Barack Obama spoke Friday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about Iran’s nuclear program and the two reiterated their stance that Iran shouldn’t have a nuclear weapon, the White House said.
“The two leaders discussed a range of security issues, and the President reaffirmed his and our country’s unshakeable commitment to Israel’s security,” the White House said in a brief summary of the call. “The two leaders underscored that they are in full agreement on the shared goal of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”
Their call comes amid increasing tension between the two leaders. Mr. Netanyahu has pressured Mr. Obama to take a more aggressive stance toward Iran, and in a speech before the United Nations General Assembly in New York Thursday the Israeli leader urged global powers to set a strict limit on Tehran’s nuclear fuel production as the clear “red line” that would trigger military strikes.
He also left room for a diplomatic solution –Mr. Obama’s preferred approach– by suggesting Israel wouldn’t considering attacking Iran until the spring of next year. He said by then Iran will have amassed enough medium-enriched uranium to convert into fuel for a nuclear bomb in a matter of weeks or months.
Mr. Netanyahu “welcomed” Mr. Obama’s comments Tuesday to world leaders about Iran, the White House said. Mr. Obama told the gathering of world leaders in New York that the U.S. “will do what we must” to ensure Iran doesn’t obtain a nuclear weapon.
This is their second call in the last several weeks, and may do little to silence those who have criticized Mr. Obama for not meeting with Mr. Netanyahu in person while he’s in the U.S. The White House has said they didn’t meet because of scheduling conflicts. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Mr. Netanyahu for over an hour Thursday in New York.
The last time Mr. Obama and Mr. Netanyahu spoke, two weeks ago, the call lasted about an hour and was prompted by sharp attacks from the Israeli leader about the Obama administration’s Israeli policy. This call lasted more than 20 minutes, according to a White House official.