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Obama 'Not Bluffing' On Iran's Nuclear Program


U.S. President Barack Obama (left) is flanked by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta as he speaks at a Cabinet meeting in Washington in late January.

U.S. President Barack Obama (left) is flanked by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta as he speaks at a Cabinet meeting in Washington in late January.

U.S. President Barack Obama says he's not bluffing when he says Iran must not be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons.

In an interview with "The Atlantic" published on March 2, Obama said diplomacy and sanctions against Iran should be given a chance to convince Iran to curb its nuclear program.

But he also told the magazine that if that fails, "all options are on the table," including a "military component."

Obama, however, also said any preemptive military strike by Israel could have uninitended consequences, including portraying Iran as a victim.

On a visit to Canada, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel has the right to act as it sees fit to defend itself from Iran, which Netanyahu said has vowed to destroy Israel.

Reports of purported Israeli plans to attack Iran prompted U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in early February to play down views attributed to him on the likelihood of such a move.

Iran has vowed to strike Western targets around the world in the event of any such attack, and a number of officials have suggested Tehran would try to shut down the heavily trafficked Strait of Hormuz, a main conduit for oil tankers.

With Reuters, AP, and dpa reporting

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