US President Barack Obama today urged Iran to seek a diplomatic solution to the nuclear standoff. The president, speaking at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) annual forum in Washington, also warned against "too much loose talk of war" with Iran.
Obama told thousands of AIPAC delegates that international sanctions against Iran were working.
"Because of our efforts, Iran is under greater pressure than ever before… Iran is isolated, its leadership divided and under pressure. And the Arab Spring has only increased these trends, as the hypocrisy of the Iranian regime is exposed, and its ally -- the Assad regime -- is crumbling,” Obama said.
"I firmly believe that an opportunity remains for diplomacy -- backed by pressure - to succeed," Obama added.
Obama cautioned the delegates against saber-rattling as Iran developed its nuclear program.
"Already, there is too much loose talk of war. Over the last few weeks, such talk has only benefited the Iranian government, by driving up the price of oil, which they depend upon to fund their nuclear program.
"For the sake of Israel's security, America's security, and the peace and security of the world, now is not the time for bluster; now is the time to let our increased pressure sink in, and to sustain the broad international coalition that we have built," Obama said.
But he also reaffirmed his strong backing for Israel and warned Iran's leaders that he would not hesitate to use force, if required, to stop it developing a nuclear weapon.
"Iran's leaders should know that I do not have a policy of containment; I have a policy to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. And as I've made clear time and again during the course of my presidency, I will not hesitate to use force when it is necessary to defend the United States and its interests."