Bloomberg News

Obama Doesn’t Think Israel Has Decided About Iran

February 05, 2012

(Corrects January jobs numbers in eighth paragraph.)

Feb. 5 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. President Barack Obama said he doesn’t think Israel has “made a decision on what they need to do” about Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and referred to a “big effect on oil prices” of military activity in the Persian Gulf.

“Our preferred solution is diplomatic but we’re not going to take any actions off the table,” Obama said in an interview with NBC television before the Super Bowl football game. “I don’t think that Israel has made a decision on what they need to do.”

Israeli leaders have been warning publicly that time is running out for a military strike that could stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Obama said the two countries have “closer military and intelligence consultation” than ever before and said “we are going to work in lockstep to try to solve this, hopefully diplomatically.”

“Obviously, any kind of additional military activity inside the Gulf is disruptive and has a big effect on us,” he said. “It has a big effect on oil prices.”

The president discounted the possibility that Iran was planning an attack against the U.S.

“We don’t see any evidence that they have those intensions or capabilities right now,” he said.

On domestic politics, Obama said “I deserve a second term but we are not done” in restoring the U.S. economy to its pre- recession levels.

Three years ago, in a pre-game prediction in a similar interview, Obama conceded that he could be looking at a “one- term proposition” if he didn’t turn the economy around. Today, he drew on January’s employment numbers, when the U.S. economy added 243,000 jobs, as proof that the economy was improving.

In January 2009, “we were losing 750,000 jobs a month,” he said. “Now we are creating 250,000.”

“We have made progress and the key right now is to make sure we don’t start turning in a new direction that could throw that progress off,” he said.

--Editors: Ann Hughey, Fred Strasser.

To contact the reporter on this story: Hans Nichols in Washington at hnichols2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ann Hughey at ahughey@bloomberg.net


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