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U.S., Israel at odds over Iran strike

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama are at odds over Israel's threat to attack Iran, a senior Israeli official said. Sept. 21 file photo. UPI/Aaron Showalter/Pool
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama are at odds over Israel's threat to attack Iran, a senior Israeli official said. Sept. 21 file photo. UPI/Aaron Showalter/Pool | License Photo

JERUSALEM, Feb. 29 (UPI) -- Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama are at odds over Israel's threat to attack Iran, a senior Israeli official said.

The two men will meet in Washington March 5 and Netanyahu is said to want Obama to state publicly the United States is prepared to engage in a military operation if Iran moves forward with the development of nuclear weapons, the official told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

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Israeli and U.S. sources say Netanyahu is concerned the Obama administration is trying to turn Israeli public opinion against an attack on Iran and is unhappy with Israel's efforts to lobby Congress and Republicans presidential candidates to pressure Obama to support a strike against Iran's nuclear facilities.

Officials said the White House has proposed having the two leaders make a joint statement on Iran after next week's meeting but has not yet proposed a text, the newspaper said.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday the United States is determined to keep Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons but there is still time for diplomacy. However, diplomacy "does not mean that we are removing other options from the table," Carney said.

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