by Tim Brown
On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the United States had refused to be firm with Tehran and thus had forfeited its moral right to stop Israel from taking action against Iran’s nuclear program. Netanyahu’s comments seem to indicate that an Israeli strike is closer than anyone thinks.
Addressing a news conference with Bulgaria’s prime minister, “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 added.
Netanyahu has been pushing Obama to adopt a tougher line against Iran, arguing that setting a clear boundary for Iran’s uranium enrichment activities and imposing stronger economic sanctions could deter Tehran from developing nuclear weapons and mitigate the need for military action.
But on Monday U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the United States would not set a deadline in further talks with Iran, saying there was still time for diplomacy to work.
Netanyahu’s comments came as diplomats said six world powers – including the United States – were poised to voice “serious concern” about Iran’s uranium enrichment programme and to urge Tehran to open up access to suspected nuclear sites.
Netanyahu said that by not setting a clear boundary or “deadline” for Iran would only encourage them in their quest for nuclear arms.
“If Iran knows that there is no deadline, what will it do? Exactly what it’s doing,” he said. “It’s continuing, without any interference, towards obtaining a nuclear weapons capability and from there, nuclear bombs.”
“So far we can say with certainty that diplomacy and sanctions haven’t worked,” he continued. “The sanctions have hurt the Iranian economy but they haven’t stopped the Iranian nuclear program. That’s a fact. And the fact is that every day that passes, Iran gets closer and closer to nuclear bombs.”
Netanyahu has called for a “red line” over the past week.
The White House responded. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, “The line is the president is committed to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, and he will use every tool in the arsenal of American power to achieve that goal.”
While Netanyahu faces opposition both at home and abroad in attacking Iran, most opinion polls among Israelis do not want their military to strike Iran without U.S. support.
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