We have seen firsthand that Iran rejects human rights, rejects international law. Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani faces death because of his religious beliefs. Following a unanimous vote in the U.S. House condemning Iran and calling for his immediate release, our efforts are expanding to secure the release of Pastor Youcef, whether it is through our Tweet for Youcef campaign, or our work with officials in this country and abroad.
As Iran continues to flex its political and military muscle on the international scene, Iran and its fast-track development of nuclear weapons will be topic number one when Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama meet at the White House on Monday.
Iran is a serious problem. It continues to threaten Israel and continues to promise that it will destroy Israel and the Jewish people. Netanyahu understands what’s at stake and knows that Iran’s nuclear program poses a significant danger to both Israel and the U.S.
“Iran has been exposed for being the most irresponsible power on earth today. The one that exports terror with abandon is murdering people and breaking all the rules,” Netanyahu told reporters recently during a one-day visit to Cyprus. “For such a regime to have nuclear weapons is something of enormous concern for the United States and for Israel,” he said.
And Israel wants Obama to step-up and tell Iran that the U.S. is prepared to stand with Israel – to take military action if necessary to keep Iran from advancing this lethal program.
Israel wants clarity from Obama, too. There are reports that Netanyahu will strongly argue not only for Obama’s acceptance of whatever action Israel decides to take against Iran, but for stronger language against Iran that goes beyond the “all options are on the table” mantra that’s been the mainstay of U.S. intentions to this point.
Now, with that critical face-to-face meeting just days away, the White House is mobilizing. Top Obama Administration officials, including Secretary of State Clinton, have gone on the offensive – trying to blunt criticism by defending Obama’s Middle East policy and its relationship with Israel.
With the Netanyahu meeting ahead, the president appears to be ratcheting up the language against Iran and his support for Israel. Obama told The Atlantic magazine that Iran and Israel both understand that “a military component” is among a mix of many options for dealing with Iran, along with sanctions and diplomacy.
“I think that the Israeli government recognizes that, as president of the United States, I don’t bluff,” Obama said in the interview. “I also don’t, as a matter of sound policy, go around advertising exactly what our intentions are. But (both) governments recognize that when the United States says it is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon, we mean what we say.”
Many are predicting the Obama/Netanyahu meeting on Monday will be tense. It doesn’t have to be. President Obama should recognize this upcoming meeting with Netanyahu as an opportunity, not just an obligation.
Mr. President, it’s time to back up your words with actions. Israel is our most important ally. Iran is not backing down. Its goal is clear: develop nuclear weapons and destroy Israel. Israel wants our help. Israel needs our help. And time is running out.