Obama: 'Very Good' Intelligence On Iran Nukes - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Obama: 'Very Good' Intelligence On Iran Nukes

USATODAY.COM - President Obama slapped new sanctions on Iran Monday, freezing all property of the Central Bank of Iran, other financial institutions, and the central government.

"These actions underscore the administration's resolve to hold the Iranian regime accountable for its failure to meet its international obligations," said a statement from the Treasury Department. "Iran now faces an unprecedented level of pressure due to intensified sanctions applied by the United States and complementary actions by many others around the world.

"The new E.O. issued today reemphasizes this administration's message to the government of Iran -- it will face ever-increasing economic and diplomatic pressure until it addresses the international community's well-founded and well-documented concerns regarding the nature of its nuclear program."

Earlier, in a TV interview, Obama said the U.S. government has a "very good estimate" of how far along Iran is in its effort toward building a nuclear weapon, but he warned that aspects of the Iranian regime remain a puzzle.

"Do we know all of the dynamics inside of Iran? Absolutely not," Obama said on NBC's Today show. "Iran itself is a lot more divided now than it was. Knowing who is making decisions at any given time inside of Iran is tough."

In the interview that was taped a day earlier, Obama said he preferred a diplomatic solution, but also made clear that the United States is in lockstep with Israel, which has grown impatient and is reportedly considering a military strike against Iran to stop the purported nuclear program.

Obama, who has had a strained relationship with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, says the U.S. and Israel "have closer military and intelligence consultation ... than we ever have had." He wouldn't say if Israel has agreed to forewarn the White House if it ultimately decides to strike against Iran.

The president is still hopeful that the standoff can be solved by diplomatic means, but he said that the U.S. has done extensive planning on a range of options.

"We are prepared to exercise these options should they arise," Obama said.

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