Obama: US will do 'what is necessary' to stop Iran

Israeli President Shimon Peres welcomed Obama.
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President Barack Obama is warning Iran that the U.S. will "do what is necessary" to prevent the Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Obama spoke after meeting Wednesday in Jerusalem with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The West says Iran's program is aimed at developing nuclear weapons technology. Iran says its program is for peaceful purposes.

Iran has defied the international community's urging that it consent to nuclear inspections.

Obama arrived in Israel on Wednesday for his first visit as president to the Mideast ally.

At the press conference, Obama also said he's deeply skeptical of claims by Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime that rebel forces have used chemical weapons.

Both the Assad regime and Syrian rebels have accused each other of using chemical weapons in an attack on Tuesday.

Obama says the U.S. is investigating whether any chemical weapons were used. He says that would be a game-changer that would cross a red line for the United States.

Obama says the U.S. policy not to intervene militarily or arm Syrian rebels is based on his desire to solve the problem as a global community.

Earlier, the president said the United States would stand by Israel as its "strongest ally" and its "greatest friend." Analysts say the president is visiting Israel to smooth over what's been a rocky relationship.

Israeli President Shimon Peres welcomed Obama, declaring that "A world without America's leadership, without her moral voice, would be a darker world. A world without your friendship, would invite aggression against Israel."

Peres also told Obama Israel trusts his policy to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

After being greeted by Peres, Obama made a short trip across the runway at Tel Aviv's airport to inspect an iron dome battery.

The iron dome missile battery was set up at the airport for the president to see. The program is partially US funded and is designed to shoot down incoming missiles and rockets.

Israel's "iron shield" was put on display in November of last year when Gaza-based militants fired hundreds of rockets into the Jewish state.

According to the Israeli military, the iron dome downed 90 percent of the short range rockets fired by militants in Gaza.

The president joked to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he was "getting away from Congress."

But in a veiled reference to tensions and regime changes in the region, he added: "The winds of change bring both promise and peril."