In an interview with The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg, President Barack Obama says his threat to Iran that the U.S. will pursue every option to thwart the regime's nuclear weapons ambitions includes a military strike.
"I think the Israeli people understand it, I think the American people understand it, and I think the Iranians understand it," Obama said of his administration's invoking the clause "all options are on the table.
"It means a political component that involves isolating Iran; it means an economic component that involves unprecedented and crippling sanctions; it means a diplomatic component..." Obama said. "And it includes a military component. And I think people understand that.
"I think that the Israeli government recognizes that, as president of the United States, I don't bluff. I also don't, as a matter of sound policy, go around advertising exactly what our intentions are. But I think both the Iranian and the Israeli governments recognize that when the United States says it is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon, we mean what we say. "
The administration has said repeatedly that it will use all its options to dissaude Iran from developing nuclear weapons -- but some officials have warned that a military strike would be counter productive and analysts suggest it could only prompt the regime to redouble its efforts. The administration has focused on severe sanctions that analysts say are the toughest the regime has weathered in the 33 years since the revolution. Those sanctions are aimed at bringing Iranians to a bargaining table.
Some Israelis have pressed for a strike, warning that their "zone of immunity" could close and its military won't have the capacity to take out the nuclear program.