Washington - President Barack Obama on Sunday vowed to use "all elements of American power", including "a military effort" to prevent Iran from making nuclear weapons, arguing it was not only against US and Israeli security interest, but also ran the risk that that it would land into the hands of terrorists.
"I have said that when it comes to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, I will take no options off the table, and I mean what I say," Obama said in his address to the American-Israel Public affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference here.
"That includes all elements of American power. A political effort aimed at isolating Iran; a diplomatic effort to sustain our coalition and ensure that the Iranian programme is monitored; an economic effort to impose crippling sanctions; and, yes, a military effort to be prepared for any contingency," the US President asserted.
Addressing the AIPAC conference, which advocates pro-Israel policies to the Congress and executive branch, Obama said he had made it time and again that he "not hesitate to use force when it is necessary to defend the United States and its interests," "We would use all elements of American power to pressure Iran and prevent it from acquiring a nuclear weapon. A nuclear-armed Iran is completely counter to Israel's security interests. But it is also counter to the national security interests of the United States," Obama said in his toughest ever warning to Iran.
He underlined that "the entire world has an interest in preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon". He argued that a nuclear-armed Iran "would thoroughly undermine the non-proliferation regime that we have done so much to build." "There are risks that an Iranian nuclear weapon could fall into the hands of a terrorist organization," he said.
Obama said Iran's leaders should have no doubt about the resolve of the US just as they should not doubt Israel's sovereign right to make its own decisions over its security needs."
He said the Iranian leaders should know that he did not have a policy of containment. "I have a policy to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon."
Obama argued that a nuclear Iran would almost certainly compel others in the region to get their own nuclear weapon, "triggering an arms race in one of the most volatile regions in the world".
The development of nuclear weapons by Iran would embolden a regime that has brutalized its own people, and it would embolden Iranâ€™s proxies, who have carried out terrorist attacks from the Levant to southwest Asia.
Obama claimed because of the international economic sanctions initiated by his administration, Iran today is isolated, its leadership divided and under pressure.
He asserted that 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".
However, the US President still insisted on diplomatic resolution of the issue.
"I firmly believe that an opportunity remains for diplomacy - backed by pressure - to succeed. The United States and Israel both assess that Iran does not yet have a nuclear weapon, and we are exceedingly vigilant in monitoring their programme," he said. - During the speech, Obama underlined the responsibility of the international community in the nuclear row.
"Now, the international community has a responsibility to use the time and space that exists. Sanctions are continuing to increase, and this July - thanks to our diplomatic coordination - a European ban on Iranian oil imports will take hold," he said.
He said faced with these "increasingly dire consequences", Iranian leaders still have the opportunity to make the right decision.
"They can choose a path that brings them back into the community of nations, or they can continue down a dead end," he said.
"Given their history, there are of course no guarantees that the Iranian regime will make the right choice. But both Israel and the US have an interest in seeing this challenge resolved diplomatically," he underlined.
"After all, the only way to truly solve this problem is for the Iranian government to make a decision to forsake nuclear weapons. That's what history tells us," Obama asserted.