President Obama believes a military strike against Iran would do little to dismantle Tehran's nuclear program.
A “verifiable, tough agreement” is the best way to block the country from obtaining a nuclear weapon, Obama said in an interview with Israel’s Channel 2 television network that will air Tuesday.
"I can, I think, demonstrate, not based on any hope, but on facts and evidence and analysis, that the best way to prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon is a verifiable, tough agreement,” Obama said in the interview, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported Monday.
“A military solution will not fix it, even if the United States participates, it would temporarily slow down an Iranian nuclear program, but it will not eliminate it," the president added.
Obama is seeking to allay concerns within Israel, a top United States ally in the Mideast, about his efforts to strike a nuclear pact with Iran.
The president spoke to the news channel one month before negotiators reach a self-imposed deadline for a final agreement that would place limits on Teheran’s nuclear program in exchange for international sanctions relief.
The president was asked if he is concerned Israel might launch a strike against Iran’s nuclear sites without first warning the U.S.
"I won't speculate on that," said Obama. “What I can say is to the Israeli people, I understand your concerns and I understand your fears."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is one of the most vehement critics of the agreement, saying it would leave much of Iran’s nuclear capacity in place and leave his country at risk of attack.
Obama and Netanyahu’s relationship reached a nadir when the Israeli leader leveled those charges in a speech to Congress in March.
During a meeting last weekend with Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Netanyahu reiterated that he opposes a "bad deal that paves Iran's path to the bomb, but also fills Iran's coffers with tens of billions of dollars [through sanctions relief] to pursue its aggression throughout the Middle East and around Israel's borders,” according to reports.