Military action against Iran "should be used if we see that Iran's nuclear weapons program is about to come alive," opposition leader and Knesset Member Benjamin Netanyahu told a counter-terrorism conference in Herzliya on Monday.
Addressing delegates at a conference organized by the Interdisciplinary Center's Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT), Netanyahu said: "The military option should never be kept off the table." Some two and a half years remained until Iran would acquire nuclear weapons, Netanyahu said, adding: "That's 700 days, and today is another day."
In the "intervening period," the Islamic Republic "should be squeezed" through a campaign of financial sanctions and divestment which would hopefully "make the Iranian leaders think twice," Netanyahu added.
Netanyahu said he believed Iran would use nuclear weapons against Israel, adding that the Iranian leadership called for Israel to be wiped off the map. "But we are only the small Satan, the great Satan is somewhere else remember that," he said.
The opposition leaders compared Iran's President Ahmadinejad to Adolf Hitler, saying, "A year ago, I said we are in 1938, and Iran is Germany. Well, it's 1939 now. Hitler first embarked on a world conflict, and then attempted to gain weapons of mass death. Ahmadinejad is going about it in the reverse order. And in the intermediate period, he is using proxies... while waiting until the nuclear program is complete," Netanyahu warned.
Preventing Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons was "the most important thing we can do," Netanyahu stressed. "When it comes to a regime like Iran, our message must be: You will not have nuclear weapons, period," he added, receiving applause.
During his address, the opposition leader said he had consulted the eminent Middle East historian, Bernard Lewis, and asked him whether a situation of mutually assured destruction (MAD) would deter Iran from using nuclear weapons.
"MAD is not a deterrent, but a catalyst, to bring back the (Shiite messianic figure of) the Mahdi... millions of people would die," Netanyahu cited Lewis as saying, adding that deterrence was an irrelevant concept to the fanatical Shiite sect which has taken control of "Iranian weapons, weapons developments, and vehicles to launch them."