U.S. President Barack Obama said on Sunday he does not think Israel has decided whether to attack Iran over its disputed nuclear program.
In an interview with NBC quoted by The Associated Press, Obama said, “I don’t think that Israel has made a decision on what they need to do.”
Obama reiterated that the United States has not removed any options from consideration in dealing with Iran, but emphasized the U.S. wants a diplomatic solution built around a world coalition.
He said Iran is feeling the pinch of sanctions but Israel is rightfully worried about its security.
He refused to say whether the United States would get notice from Israel before any potential strike on Iran. It has been speculated that Israel would not give the Obama Administration more than a few hours notice before launching an attack on the Islamic Republic.
“I will say that we have closer military and intelligence consultation between our two countries than we’ve ever had,” Obama said and added, “We are going to be sure that we work in lockstep as we proceed to try to solve this — hopefully diplomatically.”
He added that “any kind of additional military activity inside the Gulf is disruptive and has a big effect on us. It could have a big effect on oil prices. We’ve still got troops in Afghanistan, which borders Iran.”
Addressing the danger of retaliation by Iran against the United States, Obama said, “We don’t see any evidence that they have those intentions or capabilities right now.”
Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on Friday said that the U.S. would suffer defeat and lose standing in the region if it decides to use military force to stop the country’s nuclear program.
Khamenei also threatened Israel, saying the Islamic Republic will help any nation or group that confronts the Jewish State, which he said was a “cancerous tumor that should be cut and will be cut.”
On Friday, a report on NBC revealed what an Israeli attack on Iran may look like. The report, which was based on conversations the American network held with current and former officials in Israel and the United States, suggested that an attack on Iran will combine air and ground faces but will not include naval forces.
The officials interviewed said that the attack will be led by the Israeli artillery, which will use Jericho 2 missiles that have a range of 2,500 kilometers. The report also says the artillery will be assisted by F-15i aircraft and Israeli unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
The officials also told NBC that the operation will include ground units, but that they will not be involved in the actual attacks, focusing instead on marking targets or collecting intelligence.