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Mar 4, 2012 11:34 AM by Matt Stafford

Obama: Not hesitant on force to defend interests

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama says he prefers to use diplomacy to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, but he is making it clear that he won't "hesitate to use force" when necessary to defend the U.S. and its interests.

Obama also says in a speech to a pro-Israel organization that "there is too much loose talk of war" these days amid concern about a possible pre-emptive Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.

The president made the remarks at the America Israel Public Affairs Committee's annual policy conference. The address comes one day before a White House meeting with Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Tehran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

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