Israeli prime minister offered no sign of backing away from possible military attack on Iran.
The two men, who have had a strained relationship, sought to present a united front in the Iranian nuclear standoff as they held White House talks. But their public statements revealed differences over Iran.
Obama and Netanyahu made no mention of lingering disagreements over what Washington fears could be an Israeli rush to attack Iran in the coming months.
Obama, facing election-year pressure from Israel lobby and Republican presidential contenders, told Netanyahu the United States was "keeping its own military option open as a last resort" and has Israel's back.
But he also urged "Israeli patience" to allow sanctions and diplomacy to work.
Netanyahu said in public that Israel was entitled to "defend itself, by itself."
"We do believe there is still a window that allows for a diplomatic resolution to this issue," Obama said.
Given his chance to speak, Netanyahu said his supreme responsibility as prime minister of Israel is to ensure that Israel remains the master of its fate.
Even though Obama has ratcheted up his tone against Iran in recent days, he and Netanyahu went into the talks divided over how quickly the clock is ticking toward possible military action. The meeting appeared unlikely to change that.
In private, the leaders made no concrete decisions but looked at both the price of taking action against Iran which could spike oil prices and sow global economic upheaval.
Speculation is mounting that nuclear-armed Israel could attack Iran over its nuclear programe.
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