As President Obama arrives in Israel today for his first presidential trip to the country, Israeli President Shimon Peres says the responsibility lies with the United States to launch a military strike if Iran's nuclear program advances beyond "the point of return."
"The one that can decide that and the one who has the capacity to implement it clearly is the United States of America," Peres tells Politics Confidential about the possibility of a military assault against Iran, continuing on to say that "other options will not fly."
In the past, President Obama has resisted committing the United States to a timeline for military action against Iran, which has reportedly caused tension between the president and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. But Obama has grown increasingly firm on the issue, telling an Israeli television station last week that Iran possessing a nuclear weapon is a "red line."
"That is a red line for us , it's something that would not only be dangerous for Israel but it would be dangerous for the world," President Obama said. "Right now we think it would take over a year or so for Iran to actually develop a nuclear weapon, but obviously we don’t want to cut it too close."
While Israeli intelligence has estimated that Iran could obtain a nuclear weapons sooner than that, Peres downplays that there is any major disagreement between the two allies and expresses confidence that the president will take the lead militarily against Iran if necessary.
"The United States cannot afford Iran to become a nuclear country for the following reasons: it endangers the whole Middle East. Iran has ambition to run the Middle East...Then all the resources of the Middle East, the oil in Saudi Arabia, the Arab structure will fall in their hands. It will be a catastrophe for the world."
To hear more about Israeli President Shimon Peres’ concerns about Iran, check out this episode of Politics Confidential.
ABC's Stephanie Smith, Eric Wray, Alexandra Dukakis, Nicky Dubois, Magnus Mercado, and Bruno Nota contributed to this episode.
- Politics & Government
- Foreign Policy
- President Obama