Obama to meet Benjamin Netanyahu
Obama will persuade the Israeli prime minister to postpone Israel’s reported plans to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

US President Barack Obama will speak at the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in Washington on Sunday.

The AIPAC (a pro-Israel lobby) conference is scheduled amid growing concerns that Israel will attack Iran over its nuclear programme.

The president is expected to speak about America's policy on Iran's nuclear programme and also about security cooperation with Israel. He is set to deliver a speech much ahead of his likely intense meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday.

He is expected to ask the Israeli prime minister to postpone Israel's plans to strike Iran's nuclear facilities.

Earlier, on Sunday, President Obama will meet Israeli President Shimon Peres before the Israeli prime minister speaks to the AIPAC, where he will tell delegates that Israel is not rushing into a war, but will defend itself if it has to, a report on the Haaretz news web site said.

The Israel president will also express his support and thank the United States for the political and security assistance he has given Israel during the three-and-a-half years of his presidency to date, the Haaretz report said.

In an interview to the Atlantic Magazine two days ago President Obama said that both the Israel and Iran governments recognise that when the United States says it is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon, "we mean what we say".

''I think that the Israeli government recognises that, as President of the United States, I don't bluff," he added.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, who is on a North America trip, met Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Friday. He told the prime minister that the international community should not allow Iran's nuclear programme to succeed.

More than 13,000 people are expected to attend the AIPAC conference. Other speakers at the three-day AIPAC conference include former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.