By David Jackson, USA TODAY
President Obama spoke by phone to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Friday, the White House said, pledging "our country's unshakable commitment to Israel's security" -- especially when it comes to Iran.
"The two leaders underscored that they are in full agreement on the shared goal of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon," said a White House read-out of the conversation.
The two leaders spoke amid signs that Israel may give the United States and allies more time before deciding whether to launch a military attack against Iran's nuclear facilities.
In a speech yesterday to the United Nations General Assembly, Netanyahu spoke in terms of next year: "By next spring, at most next summer, at current enrichment rates, they will have finished the medium enrichment and moved on to the final stage -- from there it's only a few months, possibly a few weeks, before they get enough enriched uranium for the first bomb."
Netanyahu, who has clashed with Obama over Iran policy in the past, also had kind words for the president's pledge to block Iran's path to nuclear weapons. "I very much appreciate the president's position, as does everyone in my country," said the Israeli leader.
Netanyahu also spoke by phone today with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Obama and allies have urged Netanyahu to hold off on any military attack and give sanctions more time to pressure Iran into giving up any nuclear ambitions.
Iran insists its nuclear program is designed for peaceful energy purposes.
The White House readout:
"President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke today as part of their regular consultations, and to follow up on Secretary Clinton's meeting with the prime minister. The two leaders discussed a range of security issues, and the president reaffirmed his and our country's unshakable commitment to Israel's security.
The two leaders underscored that they are in full agreement on the shared goal of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
The prime minister welcomed President Obama's commitment before the United Nations General Assembly to do what we must to achieve that goal.
The two leaders took note of the close cooperation and coordination between the governments of the United States and Israel regarding the threat posed by Iran -- its nuclear program, proliferation, and support for terrorism -- and agreed to continue their regular consultations on this issue going forward."