Obama pushes back on imminent military decision on Iran

Wed Mar 7, 2012 12:53am IST

U.S. President Barack Obama addresses a news conference in the White House Briefing Room in Washington, March 6, 2012. REUTERS/Larry Downing

U.S. President Barack Obama addresses a news conference in the White House Briefing Room in Washington, March 6, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Larry Downing

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REUTERS - President Barack Obama pushed back on Tuesday against suggestions that Washington was on the cusp of making a decision about possible military action against Iran, pledging to take a 'sober' approach to dealing with Iran's nuclear program.

Amid mounting speculation that Israel could attack Iran's nuclear sites in coming months, Obama said that American politicians 'beating the drums of war' had a responsibility to explain the costs and benefits of military action.

He said the notion that the United States needed to make a choice in coming weeks or months was "not borne out by facts."

In White House talks on Monday, Obama appealed to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for more time for international sanctions and diplomacy to work.

Obama has insisted that military options remain on the table if other means fail to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Netanyahu told Obama that Israel has not made any decision on striking Iran. But Netanyahu also gave no sign of backing away from possible military action.

(Reporting By Caren Bohan; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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