March 6, 2012
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference took place from March 4-6, featuring key speeches by President Barak Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Iran was a key focus of the speeches, and of the meeting between Obama and Netanyahu at the White House yesterday afternoon.
Both leaders agree that a nuclear Iran is unacceptable and have refused to pursue a policy of containment. However, from their speeches and public statements, it is clear that they have differences over the imminent necessity to pursue military action against Iran.
President Obama said in his speech that he "will not hesitate to use force when it is necessary to defend the United States and its interests." However, he did emphasize in his meeting with the Prime Minister that, "We do believe that there is still a window that allows for a diplomatic resolution to this issue, but ultimately the Iranians’ regime has to make a decision to move in that direction, a decision that they have not made thus far."
In Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech yesterday evening, he said, "Responsible leaders should not bet the security of their countries on the belief that the world’s most dangerous regime won’t use the world’s most dangerous weapons." He added a few minutes later, "For six years, the international community has applied sanctions. That hasn’t worked either. I appreciate President Obama’s recent efforts to impose even tougher sanctions against Iran. Those sanctions are hurting Iran’s economy. But unfortunately, Iran’s nuclear march goes on. Israel has waited patiently for the international community to resolve this issue. We’ve waited for diplomacy to work. We’ve waited for sanctions to work. None of us can afford to wait much longer."
In the wake of these public appearances, Iran agreed to grant International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors conditional access to the Parchin Military Base—a site they were denied access to last month. In response to Iran’s overture, the "P5+1" (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council: United States, France, Britain, Russia and China; plus Germany) have agreed to resume diplomatic negotiations with Iran. Israel reportedly has criticized reopening talks before Iran suspends all uranium enrichment, but the White House believes pre-conditions will harm any chance of diplomatic success.
Watch President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu’s AIPAC speeches and read the transcript from their White House meeting.
Advocate for the new Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Human Rights Act (S. 2101), introduced last month by the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee.Date: 3/6/2012