(WASHINGTON) — Obama campaign senior adviser David Axelrod said Sunday that “no one should doubt the president’s resolve” on Iran, and that President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have the same objective of preventing Iran from producing a nuclear weapon.
Obama is set to meet with Netanyahu Monday at the White House for a critical summit on Iran’s nuclear efforts.
“Let’s first stipulate that there’s no difference between the United States and Israel on the issue of whether Iran should get a nuclear weapon,” Axelrod said on ABC’s This Week. “They’re going to sit down and they are going to talk through the tactics involved, but no one should doubt the president’s resolve.”
“Not just because of the security of Israel, but because of the security of the United States of America,” Axelrod added. “It is important that Iran not get a nuclear weapon.”
In some of his clearest language yet on the issue, Obama told The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg “I don’t bluff” when discussing Iran’s nuclear program, and that all options were on the table to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear capability.
“I think that the Israeli government recognizes that, as president of the United States, I don’t bluff,” President Obama told Goldberg in an interview last week. ”[B]oth the Iranian and the Israeli governments recognize that when the United States says it is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon, we mean what we say.”
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich called Obama’s comments “a good step in the right direction,” but questioned whether the Obama administration will be willing to move as quickly as Israel to prevent Iran from producing a nuclear weapon.
“The question for the president is, if the Israeli prime minister decides that he cannot afford to take the risk of waiting to see whether or not the intelligence agencies are right, and he decides that for the survival of Israel, he has to do something to take out the weapons systems, will the president in fact support him or will the president try to stop him?” Gingrich said on This Week.
“I think that’s the core question. Because I think the Israelis are likely to move much, much earlier than an American president would,” Gingrich added.
Goldberg said Obama had two main messages in his interview — convincing Iran to take his words seriously, while also cautioning Netanyahu against a unilateral attack this year on Iranian nuclear facilities.
“The more important message at the moment was right to the prime minister, which is, please, also, you take me seriously when I say that Iran is not going to cross the threshold on my watch,” Goldberg said. “So don’t do anything precipitous.”
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