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Obama: World must press Iran before Israel strikes
BayBak, Azerbaijan | 1759 days ago | Tuesday, 26th August , 2008 , 01:09 [am] | International
|.|| U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said on Monday that the world must increase pressure on Iran over its nuclear program before Israel feels it has its “back to the wall.”
“My job as president would be to try to make sure that we are tightening the screws diplomatically on Iran, that we’ve mobilized the world community to go
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said on Monday that the world must increase pressure on Iran over its nuclear program before Israel feels it has its “back to the wall.”
“My job as president would be to try to make sure that we are tightening the screws diplomatically on Iran, that we’ve mobilized the world community to go after Iran’s program in a serious way, to get sanctions in place so that Iran starts making a difficult calculation,” Obama said in response to a voter’s question at a campaign event in Iowa. “We’ve got to do that before Israel feels like its back is to the wall.”
Obama was asked whether Israel felt it had a “green light” to take military action against Iran if the United States and its allies did not soon demonstrate progress on containing Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. “I don’t want to speculate on whether or not Israel feels like it has a green light or not, because that would be speculation,” he replied. “What is not speculation is that we have to act much more forcefully and effectively on the world stage to contain Iran’s nuclear capabilities.”
A nuclear Iran, he explained, would change the rules of the game throughout the Middle East.
In the past, Obama had criticized his main rival for the Democratic nomination, Senator Hillary Clinton, for her tough talk on Iran, terming it reminiscent of statements by U.S. President George Bush. But recently, faced with a tough-talking Republican rival, Senator John McCain, and growing criticism of what detractors term a penchant for “making nice” to rogue regimes, he has been toughening his rhetoric as well.
Obama also referred to Israel as one of America’s closest allies in his response. He spent two nights in Israel in July as part of a week-long overseas tour, and met with several Israeli officials.
Yoav Stern adds: In addition to its nuclear program, Israel is also concerned about Iran’s ongoing supply of advanced weaponry to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Tehran sees Hezbollah as its front line of defense against Israel and an important part of its deterrent against an Israeli attack.
However, Iran believes the fact that the Lebanese border has been quiet for two years now undermines Hezbollah’s deterrent ability, and may therefore be interested in heating up the border in the near future.haaretz, Voice of a Nation