Obama, Netanyahu united against Iran nuclear drive – no Israeli attack on Iran was imminent before the November 6

US president speaks with Israeli PM following UNGA speech; reiterate US’ commitment to preventing Tehran from going nuclear; GOP candidate Romney says doesn’t think force will ultimately be needed

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama and Prime MinisterBenjamin Netanyahu on Friday expressed solidarity on the goal of preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, the White House said on Friday, amid signs of easing tensions over their differences on how to confront Tehran.

Obama, who opted not to meet Netanyahu on his US visit, spoke by phone to the Israeli leader, who used his UN speech on Thursday to keep up pressure on Washington to set a “red line” for Tehran.

But in a softening of his approach, Netanyahu also signaled that no Israeli attack on Iran was imminent before the November 6 US presidential election.

“The two leaders underscored that they are in full agreement on the shared goal of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” the White House said in a statement.

But it stopped short of saying Obama had given any ground on his resistance to issuing an ultimatum to Tehran as Netanyahu has demanded.

Mitt Romney, Obama’s Republican presidential rival, was expected to speak by phone to Netanyahu later on Friday while the Israeli leader was in the New York.

Romney: Strike may be unnecessary

Meanwhile, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said Friday that he does not believe military action will be necessary to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

The GOP hopeful said he discussed the issue with Netanyahu by telephone Friday afternoon, adding that it was unclear whether there is any difference between the US and Israel’s so-called “red lines” on when launching military action against Iran would be appropriate.

Romney said could not “completely take the military option off the table” because Iran needs to take the threat seriously.

He added that he does not believe force will ultimately be needed.

Netanyahu argues that an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities may be the only answer.

Reuters and AP contributed to this report

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