White House: Obama has been ‘very specific and direct’ with Israel on Iran

President Obama has been “very specific and direct” in his conversations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, White House press secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday.

Obama and Netanyahu, who are known to have a frosty personal relationship, are holding a face-to-face meeting at the White House on Monday, as the situation with Iran continues to escalate for both countries.


Public statements from U.S. officials about a potential Israeli strike on Iran have angered some Israelis, particularly when Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said an Israeli strike would be “destabilizing” and “not prudent.”

A report Tuesday said that Israeli officials have told the administration they won’t warn the United States if they do attack Iran.

Israel and the United States view the threat of a nuclear Iran differently, as Israel sees Iran as an existential threat and feels it has a closing window to be able to stop Iran’s nuclear program.

Carney said Wednesday that the United States has an “unshakeable commitment” to Israel’s security, and said the “level of cooperation will continue.”

“Our approach is very clear,” Carney said.

Carney said the Obama administration’s approach has been to “galvanize and mobile the international community” with sanctions to ratchet up pressure on Iran. The administration announced new sanctions on Iran Wednesday that were included in the National Defense Authorization Act passed last year.

While Obama has said no options are off the table, Carney said Wednesday there is “time and space” for the administration to continue its diplomatic path with Iran.