Washington: Asserting that he â€œdoes not bluff,â€ US President Barack Obama has warned Israel that any premature military attack on Iran might inadvertently help Tehran to portray itself as â€œvictimâ€.
In probably his toughest comments yet on the Iranian nuclear issue ahead of his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Obama made it clear that it was â€œunacceptableâ€ for Iran to have a nuclear weapon.
â€œI think that the Israeli government recognises that, as president of the United States, I donâ€™t bluff,â€ Obama told The Atlantic magazine in an interview published today.
â€œI also donâ€™t, as a matter of sound policy, go around advertising exactly what our intentions are. But I think both the Iranian and the Israeli governments recognise that when the United States says it is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon, we mean what we say,â€ Obama said.
Obama warned against a premature strike on Iran, saying it might inadvertently help the Islamic Republic.
â€œAt a time when there is not a lot of sympathy for Iran and its only real ally (Syria) is on the ropes, do we want a distraction in which suddenly Iran can portray itself as a victim?,â€ he said.
Israel has maintained that all options remain on the table with regard to action on Iran, including a pre-emptive military strike on Iranian nuclear installations.
Obama also rejected as unreasonable a more limited policy of containment in confronting Iranâ€™s nuclear efforts.
â€œYouâ€™re talking about the most volatile region in the world,â€ he said.
â€œIt will not be tolerable to a number of states in that region for Iran to have a nuclear weapon and them not to have a nuclear weapon. Iran is known to sponsor terrorist organisations, so the threat of proliferation becomes that much more severe.â€
He also said that the US and EU sanctions against the Iranian regime are starting to bite.(KMW NEWS)Â