Obama Says There's Still Room for Diplomacy on Iran

Holds meeting with Jewish leaders prior to visit to Israel


U.S. President Barack Obama told Jewish leaders Thursday that while he was determined to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, he does not believe in "extra chest-beating" and is convinced that there is still room and time for a diplomatic solution.

In a White House meeting with two dozen American Jewish leaders in advance of his upcoming trip to Israel, Obama said that the U.S. and Israel share the same intelligence information regarding Iran, but are divided about the exact point at which "diplomacy becomes irrelevant." Obama added that the gaps between the U.S. and Israel, however, "are not as big as the differences of opinion inside Israel itself."

According to participants in the off-record meeting, who spoke on condition of anonymity, Obama said he would continue to press for a diplomatic solution, and quoted a Chinese saying attributed to strategist Sun Tzu: "Build a golden bridge for your opponent to retreat upon." When he was told that Israelis say that they need more "clarity" concerning the U.S. position on Iran, Obama replied: "But that isn't because we haven't been clear."