- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 5, 2012

President Obama said Sunday he is determined to work with Israel in “lock step” to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, and tried to allay concerns that Israel is preparing to carry out a unilateral military strike.

“I don’t think that Israel has made a decision on what they need to do,” Mr. Obama said during an interview at the White House during NBC’s Super Bowl pre-game show. “We are going to make sure that we work in lock step, as we proceed to try to solve this — hopefully, diplomatically.”

Mr. Obama’s remarks came as the U.S. and other allies of Israel are working to discourage it from a unilateral strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. The president wouldn’t say whether the United States would get notice from Israel before any potential strike on Iran.

“I will say that we have closer military and intelligence consultation between our two countries than we’ve ever had,” Mr. Obama said.

The Obama administration is concerned that a strike could serve to strengthen the regime in Tehran and lead to a wider crisis in the oil-rich Middle East.

“Any kind of additional military activity inside the Gulf is disruptive and has a big effect on us,” Mr. Obama said. “It could have a big effect on oil prices. We’ve still got troops in Afghanistan, which borders Iran.”

On the economy, Mr. Obama was asked about a prediction he made three years ago: “If I don’t have this done in three years, then there’s gonna be a one-term proposition.” Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney has been reminding voters of the president’s pledge in the midst of the weak recovery, and telling audinces that he intends to “collect” on Mr. Obama’s promise.

Mr. Obama said Sunday, “I deserve a second term, but we’re not done.”

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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