The two were only expected to shake hands following Obama's speech, however in light of recent events in the Middle East – particularly the Iranian nuclear threat – Obama and Barak retired to a nearby conference room and spoke for nearly half an hour.
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The meeting was held without any advisors and delayed Obama's speech. After their meeting, Obama spoke before the 71st General Assembly of the Union for Reform Judaism, reassuring that "the cooperation between our militaries has never been stronger," as he thanked Barak "for his leadership and his lifelong commitment to Israel’s security and the quest for a just and lasting peace."
Obama and Barak meet prior to speech (Photo: White House)
Obama also remarked that Israel and the US see eye to eye from an intelligence point of view.
Barak refused to say whether Obama requested full cooperation on the Iranian issue in order to prevent an independent Israeli military strike. The defense minister only responded that both countries agree that a nuclear Iran is "unacceptable."
The defense minister assured that "we are all determined to stop Iran from going nuclear, including world leaders and the president of the United States. No option can be taken off the table."
Barak mentioned that at this point in time the world is focusing on taking diplomatic measures against Iran, especially by increasing the sanctions on Tehran. Meanwhile, the Obama administration has reached an understanding with Congress in regards to carrying out sanctions against Iran's Central Bank.
Referring to Iran's nuclear program, Obama repeated his pledge in his Friday speech that he would take "no options" off the table when it comes to forcing the Islamic Republic to stop its ambition to acquire weapons of mass destruction.
"We are determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. And that’s why we’ve worked painstakingly from the moment I took office with allies and partners, and we have imposed the most comprehensive, the hardest-hitting sanctions that the Iranian regime has ever faced…And that’s why, rest assured, we will take no options off the table," he said.
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