"Understandably, Israel is very concerned when the president of a country, a large country near them, states that they should be wiped off the face of the earth," Obama said, referring to comments by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Obama said Iran could play a constructive role in stabilizing neighboring Afghanistan and that the United States was willing to work with Tehran toward that goal. But also said, "Behind the scenes, we see evidence that occasionally, they have, actually, helped insurgents in ways that end up harming our troops (in Afghanistan)."
U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday called Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's comments about the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks "offensive" and "hateful."
Mr. Obama also commented on Iran's nuclear program in the interview. He told the BBC there are a "host of options" available if Iran does not cooperate with nuclear regulators.
He also commented on Iran's apparent repression of opposition activists following last year's disputed presidential election. Mr. Obama said the U.S. has no interest in "meddling in the rights of people to choose their own government." But he said the U.S will speak out "forcefully" when it sees a government abusing and oppressing its own people.