July 7th, 2009
09:21 AM ET
5 years ago

Obama: U.S. not giving Israel green light to attack Iran

President Obama meets Tuesday with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin near Moscow.
President Obama meets Tuesday with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin near Moscow.

MOSCOW, Russia (CNN) - The United States is "absolutely not" giving Israel a green light to attack Iran, U.S. President Barack Obama told CNN Tuesday.

"We have said directly to the Israelis that it is important to try and resolve this in an international setting in a way that does not create major conflict in the Middle East," Obama said, referring to Iran's nuclear ambitions.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden appeared to leave the door open on Sunday for Israel to attack Iran if it saw fit.

"Israel can determine for itself - it's a sovereign nation - what's in their interest and what they decide to do relative to Iran and anyone else," Biden said on ABC's "This Week."

Full story

–CNN White House Correspondent Ed Henry contributed to this report.


Filed under: Iran • Israel • Middle East • President Obama
soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. Kevin in Ohio

    "........resolve this in an international setting in a way that does not create major conflict in the Middle East." ........... typical obama-ism.... he is clueless....there IS ALREADY a major conflict in the Middle East! Obama is incapable of even telling the difference between the bad guys and the good guys.

    July 7, 2009 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  2. Bob the Observer

    Hey, score one for Biden - finally. He's right, after all. Why do we think we are the police of the world? Why do we think we have the right to tell which nation can fight which nation?

    Israel is a sovereign nation, and should make its own choices. If that had been our policy for the last forty years, there might not even be an al-quaeda, and I think there would be two more buildings we could see on the NY skyline.

    July 7, 2009 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  3. yuri

    Conflict between BHO and JB, on Israel attackin' Iran? Interesting. This we gotta see. Attackin' Iran could shyrocket the mid-east crisis into a ball of fire , difficult to put out. The repercussions of Iranian elite guards targettin' areas of US and Israeli interests will be disastrously uncontrollable.

    July 7, 2009 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  4. Open Your 3rd Eye

    IRAN IS NOT A THREAT TO ANYONE BUT THEMSELVES.

    Do you seriously believe the Iranian gov would start a war they can not finish (at least not victoriously)

    They have learned OUR politics well while Bush was in office = talk, talk, talk....no action.

    They know good and well they do not have the capability to win a war with the U.S. -period

    All of this hype is not only created by this JOKE of Iran's gov, but it was also created by the previous administration and all of it's followers.

    Now say I'm wrong and put your foot in your mouths ?

    I'm waiting..

    July 7, 2009 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  5. barbara

    Obama and Joe need to get on the same page. This lack of communication that takes place between the two quite regulary, will only hurt this nation even more. geez .

    July 7, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  6. Neiki

    Way to go President Obama! America is not willing to sacrafice anymore of our military for other countries disputes amoung themselves. No more war! Anywhere!!!!

    July 7, 2009 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  7. wkndthg

    I think Biden got it exactly right, we can't tell any sovereign nation what to do and what not to do..., what the media and people read into this is wide open.

    July 7, 2009 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  8. Eleanor

    If Israel attacks Iran, it will get a response that it will not like. Unless the U.S. would like to see a major war started in the area, the U.S. government would be wise to advise Israel against any such foolish maneuvre. Simply declaring "Israel is a sovereign nation" is idiotic when their sovereignty is only supported by billions upon billions upons billions of dollars of U.S. financial and miliary aid. What are you thinking, Mr. Biden?? Get a grip!

    July 7, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  9. phoenix86

    First, Israel does not need to ask Obama's permission to defend itself.
    Second, Obama' s policy of appeasment and apology isn't working.
    Third, Obama is pro-Arab in any fight against Israel.

    Israel should ignore Obama, they are on their own. The US under an Obama adminstration is anti-Israel.

    July 7, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  10. JP

    How about a red light to illegal settlements on stolen land paid for with U.S. tax dollars.

    July 7, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  11. Joe in NJ

    Once again Biden shoots off his big mouth and Obama has to do damage control.

    July 7, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  12. Marcus Tate

    Neither Iran nor North Korea have any intention of stopping their nuclear weapons programs voluntarily. And if either one get the bomb, odds are that it will show up here. So what are we going to do??

    July 7, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  13. Scott, Tucson

    But, ba, ba,ba isn't that what Joe said the other day? Guess Joe, the smartest man in American according to him is going back to the woodshed behind the WH when Obama returns.

    July 7, 2009 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  14. inat

    DOH! Silly Joe...

    July 7, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  15. Dave

    if isreal attacks iran...then they should face the consiquences...

    July 7, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  16. Bread and Circuses

    How quickly will this story be buried in the avalanche of Palin, Sanford and Michael Jackson stories?

    CNN had better be quick about promoting those other three, lest people begin to question what really is happening in the world today.

    July 7, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  17. KBIW

    Its time for Biden to retire, he opens his mouth before thinking about the consequences of his words. And those of you who support his rhetoric with respect to Israel should certainly be ashamed. Why are we a bunch blood thirsty violence hungry people, but when it knocks on our neighborhood doors or our own..then we become frantic and scared. These are human lives, human lives that GOD created irrespective of color, ethncity or nationality and no one person or leader of a nation has any authority to kill GOD's people no matter how you slice it up. The Eurpean Jews living in Israel have no historic right to live in Palestinian land. They are from Europe and their blood was shed in Europe, therefore their homeland should be in Europe, not in the Middle East. The fact that you adopt a religion doesnt make the land that comes with it you historically yours. Think about that people..really really think about that.

    July 7, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  18. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    No, an overt bombing run would not be a good thing. Right now, we need to see the leaks and faulty work that has been done on this program. The Iranians need to show the world that they are intent on peaceful nuclear power by opening their entire program. Without that, I say we hire spies and other operatives through 3rd and 4th parties to "spice up" the Iranian nuclear program.

    July 7, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  19. citizenjane

    I am certainly glad to hear the matter has been cleared up. God forbid anyone would delve too deeply into Biden's comment looking for what isn't there. I realize that here in America we have a way to go yet, but no doubt, Netanyhu, et.al., have gotten past the juvenille stage of politics and actually have the ability to reason as mature adults.

    July 7, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  20. Fla.

    Fortunately, intelligent & pragmatic foreign policy has returned to the White House. It is not our place to police the world, but rather work respectfully with other nations towards mutual interests of peace & stability.

    Godspeed, Mr. President.

    July 7, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  21. Cowboy in West Texas

    Obama even apologizes for his Vice President but Biden is right – Israel can and will make its own decision.

    July 7, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  22. lulu

    Boy, we sure dodged a bullet by not electing Gov. Palin as vice president.

    July 7, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  23. katiec

    Of course we are not telling Israel to go ahead. On the other hand, we cannot tell Israel or any other country how to conduct their affairs.
    That has happened too often in the past and we do not have that
    right.
    We can all hope for diplomacy and peaceful solutions, but we
    cannot control that.

    July 7, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  24. Hank Rearden

    can't they ever get on the same page?

    July 7, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  25. honest Ab

    Mr. President need to rethink this notion that he can be at peace with Iran. Everyone has enemies and so does America. These people will not be your friend and peace is not in their vocabulary. Israel is a blessed nation and if we go against them, we will lose on the end. The Palenstians and Israelites have been conflicting since before Christ, and nothing is going to change that. It is bible and historical that Iran will always be an enemy of Israel. They want that land and they cannot have it, God says so, end of story. Mr. President if you are a true Christian you would know this.

    July 7, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
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