Obama offers clarity on Iran, and a vital message to Israel

IN THE DAYS leading up to his meeting Monday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Obama said he doesn’t, “as a matter of policy, go around advertising exactly what our intentions are.’’ But in the same interview, and then in his powerful speech before the pro-Israel group AIPAC on Sunday, Obama did just that - and brought important clarity to the most immediate national-security challenge facing his administration.

In one stroke, Obama raised the ante on Iran, declaring that his administration would work tirelessly to tighten economic sanctions in the short term, but in the long term would be willing to use military force to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. He also made it clear to Israel that the United States does not want a premature military strike against Iran, which would allow that government to cast itself as a victim of aggression.

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