Iranian Official: Obama Only Says He’s Against a Nuclear Iran Because It’s An Election Year

By Patrick Burke | March 11, 2012 | 4:37 PM EDT

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visits the Natanz uranium enrichment facility some 200 miles south of Tehran in this April 2008 file photo. (AP Photo/Iranian President's office, File)

( – President Obama’s comments on Iran last week were merely election-year “political gesturing,” rather than indicative of staunch opposition to Iran’s nuclear program, according to Iran’s deputy foreign minister for Arab and African affairs, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

Discussing the White House meeting between Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Iran’s Press TV quoted Amir-Abdollahian as saying the two leaders had used adversarial rhetoric to justify the continued imposition of sanctions and a potential war with Iran.

At the meeting with Netanyahu, Obama acknowledged Israel’s position regarding a nuclear-armed Iran and added that it was also “profoundly in the United States' interest as well to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”

The U.S., Israel and many other countries suspect that Iran’s nuclear activities are a cover for attempts to develop a nuclear weapons capability, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has expressed grave concerns in this regard. Tehran insists the program is for peaceful research and energy-generation purposes only.

Amir-Abdollahian insisted that Iran continues to adhere to the standards and regulations of the IAEA and the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The Iranian deputy minister said Netanyahu’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear program were reflective of Israel’s fear of what Iran calls the Islamic “awakening” in the Middle East.

The Press TV report described Netanyahu’s remarks during his Washington visit as “war mongering.”

In his address to the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC, Netanyahu said Israel was determined to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

“We leave all options on the table. And containment is definitely not an option,” he said. “The Jewish state will not allow those seeking our destruction to possess the means to achieve that goal. A nuclear armed Iran must be stopped.”