Israel's main backers in the US are putting "extraordinary" public pressure on US President Barack Obama ahead of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to Washington, demanding that Obama harden his stance with regards to the Iranian nuclear program, the New York Times reported on Sunday.
According to the paper, as part of pressure being mounted from both the corridors of Congress and AIPAC, Obama is being buffeted by demands that the United States be more aggressive toward Iran and more forthright in supporting Israel in its own confrontation with Tehran.
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Obama will be meeting with President Shimon Peres on Sunday on the sidelines of the AIPAC conference which draws over 14,000 American Jews and other supporters of Israel. Obama is set to speak after Peres at around 5:30 pm Israel time.
Obama and Peres (Photo: GPO)
Peres will tell Obama that the more credible the threat of attack against Iran, the more likely the possibility that there will be no need to use it, in which case sanctions will suffice. According to Peres, the clearer the US government's statements on the matter, the less Netanyahu will have to expound on the subject.
Obama will be hearing a similar message from the prime minister who will be meeting him in the White House on Monday. According to Britain's The Telegraph newspaper, Netanyahu effectively brings with him an ultimatum, demanding that unless the president makes a firm pledge to use US military force to prevent Iran acquiring a nuclear bomb, Israel may well take matters into its own hands within months.
Iranian nuclear facility in Qom (Photo: AFP)
According to the New York Times, in order to give 'teeth' to the deterrent threat against Iran, Israel and its backers want Obama to stop urging restraint on Israel and to be more explicit about the circumstances under which the US itself would carry out a strike.
Israeli officials are also demanding that Iran agree to halt all its enrichment of uranium in the country, and that the suspension be verified by United Nations inspectors, before the West resumes negotiations with Tehran on its nuclear program.
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