JERUSALEM (JTA) — The United States is not taking any options off the table with respect to Iran, President Obama told Newsweek magazine.
Obama also said he understands that Israel considers Iran an existential threat.
The U.S. leader told Newsweek during an extensive question-and-answer interview published Saturday that "We want to offer Iran an opportunity to align itself with international norms and international rules. I think, ultimately, that will be better for the Iranian people. I think that there is the ability of an Islamic Republic of Iran to maintain its Islamic character while, at the same time, being a member in good standing of the international community and not a threat to its neighbors."
He added that he is "not naive about the difficulties of a process like this."
Asked whether he expects Israel to avoid taking unilateral military action against Iran, Obama said, "I understand very clearly that Israel considers Iran an existential threat, and given some of the statements that have been made by President Ahmadinejad, you can understand why. So their calculation of costs and benefits are going to be more acute. They’re right there in range and I don’t think it’s my place to determine for the Israelis what their security needs are."