By Jeremy Herb
President Obama told Israeli television that Iran is still over a year away from building a nuclear weapon.
In an interview with Israel’s Channel 2 TV that aired Thursday, Obama reiterated that a nuclear Iran is a “red line” for the administration and said all options were on the table to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
“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,” Obama said, according to the Associated Press.
“So when I’m consulting with Bibi [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] as I have over the last several years on this issue, my message to him will be the same as before: If we can resolve it diplomatically that is a more lasting solution. But if not I continue to keep all options on the table,” he said.
"When I say that all options are on the table, all options are on the table," Obama said. "The United States obviously has significant capabilities … So when I say that we intend to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, that we’re going to pursue all avenues to make sure that that does not happen."
The president told Channel 2 that he has been “crystal clear” about his position on preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
Obama gave the interview ahead of his visit to Israel next week, which will be his first as president.
Iran’s nuclear program has been a sore spot in a tense relationship between Obama and Netanyahu. The Israeli prime minster has questioned whether sanctions against Iran are doing anything to slow down Iran’s nuclear program, while Obama has said that they can bring Tehran to the negotiating table.
Iran insists that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only, while the U.S., Israel and others suspect Iran of seeking nuclear weapons.