Obama aide: US won’t allow nuclear Iran


A day before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial address to Congress, a senior aide to President Obama insisted the U.S. will prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

“The United States of America will not allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon, period,” U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said to a standing ovation at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in Washington. 

{mosads}”We believe that diplomacy is the preferred route to secure our shared aim, but if it should fail, we know the stakes of a nuclear-armed Iran, as well as everyone here. We will not let it happen,” she said.

Netanyahu is expected to scold the administration for its nuclear talks with Iran during his address. Power defended the administration’s diplomacy, but her speech was also intended to signal the administration will use force to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon if the talks fail. 

She added that, while the U.S. is seeking a diplomatic solution to quell the international community’s concerns that Iran is seeking a nuclear weapon, a nuclear Iran is not an option.

Power sought to downplay tensions between the adminsitration and Netanyahu’s government. 

Vice President Biden and more than two dozen Democratic lawmakers are skipping Netanyahu’s address to Congress on Tuesday.

Netanyahu is speaking at the invitation of Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), and the administration was not told of his plans ahead of time. The Israeli leader is up for reelection in two weeks.

“We believe firmly that Israel’s security and the U.S.-Israel relationship transcends politics, and it always will,” Power said to another standing ovation.

“Our commitments to our partnership with Israel are bedrock commitments. This partnership should never be politicized and it cannot and should not be broken,” Power said.

Power said that the stakes are too high to subject the Israeli-American relationship to political arguments. 

This story was updated at 10:47 a.m.

Tags Barack Obama Benjamin Netanyahu Iran Israel Samantha Power

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