In recent weeks, hawkish conservatives have ramped up their rhetoric on Iran, leading to concerns that a war is on the horizon. For example, Newt Gingrich said, “they should expect to get hit, and it will be their fault for having caused it.” Daily Caller editor Tucker Carlson wildly argued (and then later backed off the assertion) that Iran “deserves to be annihilated.” And, Rudy Giuliani said, “We need a president who can say the words ‘bomb them’ and actually can do it.”
Today in his speech before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Obama said, “For the sake of Israel’s security, America’s security and the peace and security of the world, now is not the time for bluster,” adding, “I firmly believe that an opportunity remains for diplomacy [with Iran] – backed by pressure – to succeed.” Sanctions put in place by the administration and its global allies have had an “immediate bite” on the regime, he said. Emphasizing his “deeply-held preference for peace over war,” Obama warned of the repercussions of “loose talk of war”:
Already, there is too much loose talk of war. Over the last few weeks, such talk has only benefited the Iranian government, by driving up the price of oil, which they depend on to fund their nuclear program. For the sake of Israel’s security, America’s security, and the peace and security of the world, now is not the time for bluster; now is the time to let our increased pressure sink in, and to sustain the broad international coalition we have built. Now is the time to heed that timeless advice from Teddy Roosevelt: speak softly, carry a big stick. And as we do, rest assured that the Iranian government will know our resolve — that our coordination with Israel will continue.
In his remarks, Obama stressed his recent remarks that he’s not “bluffing” when it comes to his response to a potential Iranian nuclear weapons program. “Iran’s leaders should know that I do not have a policy of containment,” he said. “I have a policy to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. And as I’ve made clear time and again during the course of my presidency, I will not hesitate to use force when it is necessary to defend the United States and its interests.”