Nothing off the table to prevent a nuke Iran: Obama

Obama argued that a nuclear Iran would almost certainly compel others in the region to get their own nuclear weapon.

Washington: President Barack Obama on Sunday
vowed to use "all elements of American power", including "a
military effort" to prevent Iran from making nuclear weapons,
arguing it was not only against US and Israeli security
interest, but also ran the risk that that it would land into
the hands of terrorists.

"I have said that when it comes to preventing Iran from
obtaining a nuclear weapon, I will take no options off the
table, and I mean what I say," Obama said in his address to
the American-Israel Public affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy
Conference here.

"That includes all elements of American power. A
political effort aimed at isolating Iran; a diplomatic effort
to sustain our coalition and ensure that the Iranian programme
is monitored; an economic effort to impose crippling
sanctions; and, yes, a military effort to be prepared for any
contingency," the US President asserted.

Addressing the AIPAC conference, which advocates
pro-Israel policies to the Congress and executive branch,
Obama said he had made it time and again that he "not hesitate
to use force when it is necessary to defend the United States
and its interests,"
"We would use all elements of American power to pressure
Iran and prevent it from acquiring a nuclear weapon. A
nuclear-armed Iran is completely counter to Israel`s security
interests. But it is also counter to the national security
interests of the United States," Obama said in his toughest
ever warning to Iran.

He underlined that "the entire world has an interest in
preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon". He argued
that a nuclear-armed Iran "would thoroughly undermine the
non-proliferation regime that we have done so much to build."
"There are risks that an Iranian nuclear weapon could
fall into the hands of a terrorist organization," he said.

Obama said Iran`s leaders should have no doubt about the
resolve of the US just as they should not doubt Israel`s
sovereign right to make its own decisions over its security

He said the Iranian leaders should know that he did not
have a policy of containment. "I have a policy to prevent Iran
from obtaining a nuclear weapon."

Obama argued that a nuclear Iran would almost certainly
compel others in the region to get their own nuclear weapon,
"triggering an arms race in one of the most volatile regions
in the world".

The development of nuclear weapons by Iran would
embolden a regime that has brutalized its own people, and it
would embolden Iran’s proxies, who have carried out terrorist
attacks from the Levant to southwest Asia.

Obama claimed because of the international economic
sanctions initiated by his administration, Iran today is
isolated, its leadership divided and under pressure.

He asserted that the Arab Spring has only increased these
trends, as the "hypocrisy of the Iranian regime is exposed",
and its ally - the Assad regime - "is crumbling".

However, the US President still insisted on diplomatic
resolution of the issue.

"I firmly believe that an opportunity remains for
diplomacy - backed by pressure - to succeed. The United States
and Israel both assess that Iran does not yet have a nuclear
weapon, and we are exceedingly vigilant in monitoring their
programme," he said.

During the speech, Obama underlined the responsibility of
the international community in the nuclear row.

"Now, the international community has a responsibility to
use the time and space that exists. Sanctions are continuing
to increase, and this July - thanks to our diplomatic
coordination - a European ban on Iranian oil imports will take
hold," he said.

He said faced with these "increasingly dire
consequences", Iranian leaders still have the opportunity to
make the right decision.

"They can choose a path that brings them back into the
community of nations, or they can continue down a dead end,"
he said.

"Given their history, there are of course no guarantees
that the Iranian regime will make the right choice. But both
Israel and the US have an interest in seeing this challenge
resolved diplomatically," he underlined.

"After all, the only way to truly solve this problem is
for the Iranian government to make a decision to forsake
nuclear weapons. That`s what history tells us," Obama