Obama, Ahmadinejad say they're hearing 'noise' from Israel
On "60 Minutes," Obama says he will make decisions based on U.S. interests and "block out any noise that's out there" • In Washington Post interview, Ahmadinejad says "Zionists would love to find a way for their own salvation by making a lot of noise."
Israel Hayom Staff
President Barack Obama waves as he is introduced during a campaign stop Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012, in Milwaukee.
Photo credit: AP
U.S. President Barack Obama and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad treat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's call for the U.S. to set a "red line" over Iran's nuclear drive as "noise," according to two recent interviews with American media.
In an interview with CBS's "60 Minutes" on Sunday, Obama said that he shares Netanyahu's concerns over Iran but will make policy decisions based on U.S. interests.
"I understand and share Prime Minister Netanyahu's insistence that Iran should not obtain a nuclear weapon because it would threaten us, it would threaten Israel and it would threaten the world and kick off a nuclear arms race," the U.S. president said.
But, asked by the interviewer if he feels any pressure from Netanyahu to "draw a line in the sand," Obama said, "When it comes to our national security decisions, any pressure that I feel is simply to do what's right for the American people. And I am going to block out any noise that's out there."
Ahmadinejad also dismissed Netanyahu's demands as "noise" in an interview with The Washington Post's David Ignatius, published Monday.
Ahmadinejad said, "We, generally speaking, do not take very seriously the issue of the Zionists and the possible dangers emanating from them ... Of course, they would love to find a way for their own salvation by making a lot of noise and to raise stakes in order to save themselves. But I do not believe they will succeed.”
Later in his interview, Obama recognized the Iranian threat against Israel, saying, "Now I feel an obligation, not pressure but obligation, to make sure that we're in close consultation with the Israelis on these issues because it affects them deeply. They're one of our closest allies in the region. And we've got an Iranian regime that has said horrible things that directly threaten Israel's existence."
Obama's comments come amid mounting tensions between his administration and the Israeli government over the Iranian nuclear issue. Earlier this month, Netanyahu demanded that the U.S. set a "red line" beyond which it would commit to taking military action against Iran. "Until Iran sees a clear red line and such determination, it will not stop the progress of its nuclear project — and Iran must not be allowed to have nuclear weapons," the prime minister said.
Since then, several senior U.S. officials have rejected Netanyahu's demands, including U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Asked in an interview with Bloomberg earlier this month if the Obama administration would set sharper "red lines" for Iran, or explicitly state the consequences for failing to reach a solution in nuclear negotiations with the Iranians, Clinton told Bloomberg, "We're not setting deadlines."
Meanwhile, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Obama's rival, said also in an interview with "60 Minutes" that Obama's decision not to meet with Netanyahu on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly opening this week, "is a mistake and sends a message throughout the Middle East that somehow we distance ourselves from our friends and I think the exact opposite approach is what's necessary."