New sanctions imposed by the U.S. on Iran are intended to ratchet up the pressure on Tehran -- and perhaps take down the temperature of Israel, which is clearly worried about Iran's accelerated pursuit of nuclear weapons.
In an interview that aired Monday, President Obama said he wants to exhaust all non-military means and lower the heat in the Mideast.
"We have done extensive planning on all our various options in the Gulf. We are prepared to exercise these options should the need arise," Obama told NBC. "But my goal is to try to solve this diplomatically, mainly because the only way to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapon is to make them understand it's not in their interest."
Part of that plan -- imposing new sanctions on Iran's Central Bank as well as tightening existing sanctions. The president signed the executive order on Sunday evening. Treasury officials say they do not want to grant waivers to those buying oil through Tehran's main bank, tightening the screws on outsiders who do business with Iran.
The new sanctions, however, may not provide too much consolation to Israel, which fears Washington may not be approaching the Iran situation with the same urgency as Tel Aviv.
Israeli foreign minister, Avigdor Liberman. was on Capitol Hill to talk about Iran on Monday. Israeli defense officials have been telegraphing their intent to strike, with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak saying last week that "later is too late."
But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly told his cabinet on Monday to halt the "chitchat" about Iran, just days after U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta expressed fears that Israel could attack this spring.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers says some of the confusion for Israel may be coming from mixed messages by the Obama administration.
"The messages the administration is sending, I think, (are) confusing to Israel, and I find that that's why you hear this talk about maybe they're going to do something by themselves," he said.
The White House pushed back on any notion that there is a divide between the U.S. and Israel.
"The president made clear our level of cooperation with Israel militarily and intelligence matter has never been higher. We've made that point repeatedly because I think it demonstrates this country's commitment to Israel's security," said White House spokesman Jay Carney.
Carney also denied that Monday's unexpected announcement of new banking sanctions was a sign of heightened worry about an Israeli attack.
"There has been a steady increase in our sanctions activity and this is part of that escalation," he said.
But the president may have had his hand forced in terms of a timeline. Iran began more war games this weekend. Its leaders have said the U.S. would pay 10 times what Iran did should anyone carry out a military strike against them.
On Monday, the International Atomic Energy Agency announced that it believes Iran is moving its nuclear enrichment activity away from its main facility at Natanz further underground to a facility 220 feet underground near the holy site of Qom, known as Furdow.
Carney said U.S. sanctions on Iran are already squeezing Iran's economy and have exacerbated tensions within the Iranian leadership.
"There is no question that the impact of the isolation on Iran and the economic sanctions on Iran have caused added turmoil within Iran," he said, adding, "When President Obama took office, Iran was unified and the world was not, with regards to Iranian nuclear ambitions, the opposite is now true. And that has had, I think, the effect of making clear to the world that the problem here is Iranian behavior."
Rogers said that while he's hopeful the sanctions will have an impact, sending conflicting messages to Iran about the use of military force is also complicating the situation.
"Messages are important in diplomacy. Every diplomat says they want to do this in a peaceful way but would like to know that there's a U.S. carrier over their shoulder when they make that negotiation," he said. "Not that you want a military action, but we need the Iranians to believe that that is not off the table. Just saying it and then seeing all of these other activities happen, that's the problem."
The former U.S. military commander once in charge of U.S. planning in the event of a strike against Iran said talk of military action is shortsighted.
"Back several years ago, it looked like this was the key year, then next year was the key year," said Admiral William Fallon, who lost his job as the head of Central Command when he questioned the wisdom of striking Iran in an interview with Esquire Magazine at the end of the Bush administration.
On top of that, he asked, where does the international community go from there?
"So you strike and then what? What happens then? Step 2, Step 3, Step 4? Where does this go? What are the outcomes? What do you think you can really achieve?" Fallon asked.
Obama, while saying he would not take the military out of the equation, suggested that it's not yet time to worry about whether it's too late.
The U.S. has "a very good estimate of when (Iran) could potentially achieve breakout capacity (in producing nuclear weapons)," he said. "But do we know all the dynamics inside Iran? Absolutely not."
Fox News' Jennifer Griffin contributed to this report.