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Reports: Netanyahu will push Obama hard on Iran

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Oded Balilty/AP

(Read caption) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a conference in Tel Aviv, Tuesday, Feb. 28. Netanyahu sets off for a critical US visit next week with a serious rift apparently developing over a possible Israeli military offensive against the nuclear program of Iran.

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• A daily summary of global reports on security issues.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intends to take a harder line on Iran in next week’s meeting with President Obama in hopes of pressuring the United States into making more decisive pronouncements on its potential responses to Iran’s nuclear development.

Haaretz reports that, according to an unnamed Israeli official, Mr. Netanyahu wants more than the "vague assertion that 'all options are on the table.' " He wants Mr. Obama to publicly state that the US is prepared for a military operation against Iran should the country “cross certain ‘red lines.’ ”

But White House officials say Netanyahu will go home empty-handed. The Los Angeles Times reports that Obama has no intention of making any policy shift toward Iran and that he believes the current US strategy – diplomacy and increasingly strict sanctions – is taking a toll on Iran.
“A more explicit military threat is not helpful,” senior White House officials told The Times. While Washington's red line is Iran acquiring a nuclear bomb, Israel's threshold is lower: Iran merely acquiring the knowledge and industrial means to build a nuclear bomb.


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