White House says Obama and Bibi agree on Iran, but does not set red line

Click photo to download. Caption: The White House. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

(JNS.org) President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had a phone conversation Sept. 28 and are “in full agreement on the shared goal of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” the White House said.

That statement, however, came amid Netanyahu’s latest request for the setting of “red lines”—points that will trigger U.S. military action if Iran’s nuclear program crosses them—and the Obama’s aministration’s continued refusal to do so.

“The two leaders took note of the close cooperation and coordination between the governments of the United States and Israel regarding the threat posed by Iran—its nuclear program, proliferation, and support for terrorism—and agreed to continue their regular consultations on this issue going forward,” the White House said readout of the Obama-Netanyahu phone call said.

Netanyahu said at the United Nations on Sept. 27 that he thinks Iran will reach the final phase of uranium enrichment sometime in the spring or summer of 2013. Two days earlier, Obama said at the same venue that a nuclear-armed Iran “is not a challenge that can be contained” and that it “would threaten the elimination of Israel, the security of Gulf nations, and the stability of the global economy.”

Reacting to Netanyahu’s speech, U.S. National Security Council spokesperson Tommy Vietor said the U.S. and Israel “share the goal of preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon” and that the two countries “will continue our close consultation and cooperation toward achieving that goal,” but did not endorse Netanyahu’s proposal of red lines.

On the phone call, Netanyahu “welcomed President Obama’s commitment before the United Nations General Assembly to do what we must” to prevent a nuclear Iran, according to the White House. Like Vietor’s statement, red lines were not mentioned in the readout of the Obama-Netanyahu conversation.

Posted on September 28, 2012 .