Obama AIPAC remarks welcomed by Israel

Obama AIPAC remarks welcomed by Israel

JERUSALEM (AP/ ABC7) - Israeli leaders say President Barack Obama's speech on Iran's nuclear program is an unprecedented show of support for the Jewish state.

Israelis had been skeptical of the White House's commitment to stopping Iran's nuclear progress by any means, including military action if necessary.

But Monday, Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom told Israel Radio that U.S.-Israel coordination was now "almost perfect."

President Shimon Peres said Sunday that Obama "is determined to prevent Iran from attaining nuclear weapons."

Israel's comments were centered around Obama's statement to the annual conference of the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC on Sunday--where he said that America is ready to strike Iran should sanctions fail.

Israel believes a nuclear-armed Iran would threaten its existence. Iran claims its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

Citing his remarks last year ahead of the U.N. General Assembly, where he reaffirmed his backing of Israel's right to protect itself, Obama said "it was the right thing to do."{ }

"That will be true as we continue our efforts to pursue -- in the pursuit of peace. And that will be true when it comes to the issue that is such a focus for all of us today: Iran’s nuclear program -- a threat that has the potential to bring together the worst rhetoric about Israel’s destruction with the world’s most dangerous weapons," Obama said on Sunday.

"No Israeli government can tolerate a nuclear weapon in the hands of a regime that denies the Holocaust, threatens to wipe Israel off the map, and sponsors terrorist groups committed to Israel’s destruction," he said.

"A nuclear-armed Iran is completely counter to Israel’s security interests. But it is also counter to the national security interests of the United States," the U.S. president said to applause.