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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Photo: Moshe Milner, GPO
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Photo: Moshe Milner, GPO
 
 

PM: Red line can prevent conflict with Iran

In CNN interview Netanyahu asserts US must send Tehran clear message on its nuclear work. 'Iran must know there's a line they shouldn’t cross – because otherwise, they'll cross it,' he says

Yitzhak Benhorin
Latest Update: 09.16.12, 23:00 / Israel News

WASHINGTON – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave an interview Sunday with CNN's "State of the Nation" and stressed, yet again, the need for the United States to send a clear message to Iran over its nuclear work.

 

Netanyahu reiterated that Washington must set a clear red line for Tehran: "I think the issue is how to prevent Iran from completing its nuclear weapons program.

 

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"They're moving very rapidly to completing the enrichment of the uranium that they need to produce a nuclear bomb. In six months or so, they will be 90% of the way there.  

 

 

"I think it's important to place a red line before Iran, and I think that actually reduces the chance of a military conflict because, if they know there's a point, a stage in the enrichment or other nuclear activities that they cannot cross because they're face consequences, I think they'll actually not cross it," he stated.

 

"I think we should have a red line communicated to Iran, I think that's vital. I know people value flexibility, I think that's important, but I think that in this late stage of the game Iran needs to see clarity.

 

"I'm not sure I would have said such a thing three years ago, or two years ago, or even one year ago, but as we get closer and closer to the end game I think we have to establish that. It's becoming very important."

 

The threat posed by Tehran possessing nuclear weapons, a regime "guided by the same fanaticism" as those who killed US Ambassador to Libya, the prime minister continued, has "Become something very urgent for all of us, to make sure that they don’t get there. And if you want to make sure that they don't get there, make sure that they know that there's a line they shouldn’t cross – because otherwise, they'll cross it."

 

'Israel supports Democrats, Republicans alike'

Netanyahu also commented on the criticism leveled at him over his supposed meddling in the US presidential elections.

 

Tensions between Israel and the US have grown recently over Jerusalem demand that Washington set a "clear red line" to Iran.

 

Israel's insistence on the matter has taken on a decidedly political tone, as it has become a clear issued in the presidential campaign.

 

Recent editorials in the New York Times and Washington Post joined various US officials in criticizing Netanyahu over his attempts to "corner Obama" into launching a premature attack on the Islamic Republic.

 


Netanyahu and Obama (Photo: GPO)

 

"Leaders need flexibility and ambiguity, not just hard and fast red lines. And it is dangerous for Mr. Netanyahu to try to push the president into a corner publicly and raise questions about Washington. Is that really the message he wants to send to Tehran?" the New York Times wondered.

 

"Presidents don't turn over that power of war and peace, even to their best friends," the Washington Post echoed.

 

"I knew people are trying to draw me into the American elections, and I'm not going to do that," Netanyahu told CNN Sunday.

 

"But I will say that we value, we cherish the bipartisan support for Israel in the United States, and we're supported by Democrats and Republicans alike."

 

"This is not an electoral issue. It is not based on any electoral consideration.

 

I think that there's a common interest of all Americans, of all political persuasions, to stop Iran. This is a regime that is giving vent to the worst impulses that you see right now in the Middle East."

 

Later Sunday, US Aambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said that "there's no daylight" between the United States and Israel when it comes to stopping Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

 

She did, however say that US-Israeli intelligence indicates that the two nations have "considerable time" before that happens.

 

 

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First Published: 09.16.12, 19:36

 

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