Netanyahu Rejects Calls for Patience on Iran Sanctions

Israel’s premier insists “the danger of not acting” is greater than giving Iran more time.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel talks with President Barack Obama of the United States in the Oval Office of the White House, Washington DC, March 5
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel talks with President Barack Obama of the United States in the Oval Office of the White House, Washington DC, March 5 (White House/Pete Souza)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made clear this week that Israel will not wait for the United States to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program. “We cannot delegate the job of stopping Iran, if all else fails, to someone else,” he said on Sunday.

In an interview with NBC News’ Meet the Press, the Israeli leader rejected calls for patience, arguing, “the danger of not acting, in time, is much greater” than Israel striking to take out Iran’s nuclear sites and failing.

Netanyahu tried to downplay speculation that there is a rift between Israel and the United States about deterring Iran from developing a nuclear weapons capability.

I just think it’s important to communicate to Iran that there’s a line that they won’t cross. I think a red line, in this case, works to reduce the chances of the need for military action.

The Obama Administration has refused to put down “red lines” on Iran’s nuclear program, arguing that economic sanctions should be given more time to put pressure on the regime in Tehran.

Netanyahu on Tuesday seemed exasperated with the United States’ unwillingness to set on a limit on Iranian nuclear progress. “The world tells Israel, ‘Wait, There’s still time.’ And I say: ‘Wait for what? Wait until when?'”

Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel.

He told Meet the Press than Iran was six months’ time away from developing weapons grade uranium. “They’re in the red zone. They’re in the last twenty yards and you can’t let them cross that goal line.”

In July, the prime minister expressed frustration about the failure of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany to reach a deal with Iran under which it would forego any attempt to build nuclear weapons. “All these talks,” he told Fox News at the time, “hasn’t stopped the regime one bit.”

They’re basically saying, we can talk, we can delay, we can deceive while we’re continuing to race toward atomic weapons.

Since the great powers initiated talks with Iran in 2006, there has been no breakthrough to stop its enrichment program. Throughout the years, Israel has repeatedly warned that it may resort to unilateral military action if there isn’t a diplomatic solution to stop Iran’s suspected advance to an ability to build nuclear weapons.

Iran insists that it has no such ambition and that it is entitled to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes. Netanyahu questioned Iran’s intentions in an interview with CNN’s State of the Union. “It’s not legitimate,” he said of the country’s nuclear program.

This is a country that […] denies the Holocaust, promises to wipe out Israel, is engaged in terror throughout the world.

He added that Israel has intelligence that confirms Iran’s intention to attain a weapons capacity. “We know that they’re working toward a weapon. We know that. It’s not something that we surmised.”

Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency have found no proof that Iran is trying to make a nuclear weapon although they were denied access to a military base on their most recent inspection in February.

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