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Defense / Sunday Shows

Senators Caution Obama on Iran

photo of Alexandra  Jaffe
March 4, 2012

Senators Lindsey Graham and Richard Blumenthal, both members of the Senate Armed Services Committee who recently returned from a Senate trip to the Middle East, said President Obama needs to do more to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons capabilities.

"[Obama] needs to get specific," said Blumenthal, D-Conn., on Fox News Sunday. "[He] needs to say that containment is not an option. That a nuclear-armed Iran...is simply unacceptable because it would destabilize the Middle East."

The discussion of a nuclear Iran comes as the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee meets for its annual conference in Washington today. Both Israeli President Shimon Peres and Obama will speak to the crowd, and many see Obama's talk today as a test of whether he's adequately supportive of Israel's national security concerns.

 

One comment from the president’s lengthy speech: "I do not have a policy of containment. I have a policy to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon."

Graham, R-S.C., conceded that the two nations do differ on the matter, but explained that "there's an intelligence picture difference," in that Israeli intelligence seems to paint a different picture of Iran's capabilities than U.S. intelligence. He warned that Israel would not wait for the U.S. to act if it felt threatened.

"[The Israeli people] are not going to lose control of their destiny," he said, explaining that Israel would hit that threshold when the nation's military capacity is "not sufficient” to stop Iran’s nuclear program.

If the U.S. doesn't use force to stop Iran, "they're going to do it themselves," he added. "We should support that position and hope we never get there."

In an interview with The Atlantic published this week, Obama said that he's willing to use military force against Iran.

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