Obama: U.S. will stand by Israel

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WASHINGTON — Despite their sometimes public disagreements, leaders of the U.S. and Israel are showing some unity today on the issue of Iran’s nuclear weapons.

As he started several hours of meetings at the White House with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Barack Obama said the U.S. and Israel agree that diplomacy is the best way to resolve the crisis with Iran.

But Obama added that the U.S. will consider all options in confronting the possibility of an Iranian nuclear weapon.

Netanyahu said Israel and America “stand together.” But he said Israel must remain “the master of its fate” — and that it’s a sovereign nation with the right to defend itself.

Obama is hoping to get Netanyahu to reduce the pressure among many in his hawkish government to attack Iran’s disputed nuclear development sites. He wants to avert an Israeli attack that could come this spring. The United States views such an attack as dangerously premature.

But at the same time, he assured Netanyahu that the United States “will always have Israel’s back.”

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This story was written and provided by The Associated Press Wire.  (Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)