JERUSALEM, March 14 (Xinhua) -- The United States remains committed to preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and continues to keep all options on the table to that end, U.S. President Barack Obama said in an interview with Israel's Channel 2 TV aired Thursday night.
Obama, who is scheduled to arrive in Israel next week, said the United States has information that Iran still requires "a year or so" until it is capable of producing a nuclear weapon, but the United States "doesn't want to cut it that close."
"It's in our interests and everybody's interests to resolve this issue through diplomacy," he added. However, "if diplomacy fails, all options remain on the table."
"Our goal here is to make sure that Iran does not possess a nuclear weapon that could threaten Israel or trigger an arms race in the region," Obama said, adding that the top leadership of his administration is "prepared for a whole range of contingencies" to curb Tehran's nuclear aspirations.
"(U.S. Secretary of State John) Kerry and (Secretary of Defense Chuck) Hagel share my fundamental view that the issue of Iran's nuclear capability is an issue of U.S. national security interest, as well as Israel's national security interest," he said.
Addressing the impasse in the peace process, Obama said resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will not be achieved by unilateral measures, but by both sides "sitting together and recognizing" that their futures are inseparably linked.
"What I say to both Bibi and Abu Mazen is that the only solution is that each side will recognize the legitimate interests of the other side," Obama said, referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Asked to confirm previous reports of his strained relations with Netanyahu, Obama said, "We have an excellent working relationship. He very bluntly expresses to me his views on different issues, and I too bluntly express my views to him... But we always arrive at a solution, and the bottom line is that first and foremost we have to ensure Israel's security."
In a rare personal disclosure, Obama confessed in the interview that one of the things he misses most as president is the " spontaneous interaction with people in a restaurant, at the beach - - meeting people and understanding what they are feeling and thinking about the world, about life."
"I'd love to wear a mustache and roam the streets of Tel Aviv, to go to a bar and meet someone and talk, or to meet with university students in an informal setting," the U.S. president added.