Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama said Monday sanctions and diplomacy must be made to bite against Iran so that Israel does not feel its "back is against the wall" and stages an attack.
A nuclear-armed Iran would be a "game-changer for the region," allowing the Tehran to meddle through extremist proxies, intervene in Iraq and threaten oil supplies, the White House hopeful told about 250 voters, according to AFP. Obama underlined that Israel, "one of our strongest allies in the world," would feel hugely threatened given threats by Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to wipe the Jewish state off the world map.
"My job as president is to make sure we are tightening the screws on Iran diplomatically... to get sanctions in place so that Iran starts making a different calculation," the U.S. senator said. "And we've got to do that before Israel feels like its back is against the wall."
Obama noted that after visiting Israel last month, he believed "their general attitude is we will not allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon." "They recognize there are no good military options but they also recognize that from their perspective it is unacceptable to allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon."
Obama added: "The problem is that for most of the Bush administration, instead of trying to engage directly with Iran, there was a lot of saber-rattling."