In a speech Monday at the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Samantha Power aimed to alleviate tensions over the United States' commitment to Israel during its nuclear negotiations with Iran.
"Talks, no talks; agreement, no agreement—the United States will take whatever steps are necessary to protect our national security and that of our closest allies," said Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
Ahead of his visit to the United States, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said U.S. officials and others negotiating with Iran are no longer pushing Iran to abandon its nuclear development.
Power's speech countered that idea. "The United States of America will not allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon. Period."
Power appeared at the annual conference in a last-minute decision by the Obama administration to send the U.N. ambassador and National Security Adviser Susan Rice to the convention.
Their appearances were announced after some speculation that the White House would not send any high-ranking officials to the conference. Rice is expected to pitch to the crowd the importance of the administration's ongoing negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, which have focused on limiting Iran's nuclear material production while slowly easing sanctions on Tehran. U.S. officials and representatives from five other countries hope to make a deal with Iran by a March 31 deadline.