In the first such statement by a Cabinet member, Steinitz said: "The US must issue a clear ultimatum to Iran, tell it that if it does not change its behavior within weeks, the military option that has been on the table up until now will become relevant."
Steinitz, who is a close associate of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is familiar with Iran's nuclear program from his service as the chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
"It’s time for the whole world, under US leadership, to issue Iran a clear ultimatum that if it does not change its ways in a clear and verifiable manner, it can expect an American attack, or at least a naval blockade," he said.
Bushehr reactor. 'Not necessarily the significant reactor' (Photo: Reuters)
Steinitz refrained from mentioning Netanyahu's stance on the matter, but said the demand for an ultimatum is being made despite certain achievements in diplomacy and other measures adopted by the international community.
He also disputed claims by the by former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton, who said Israel has "days" to attack Iran before Russia fuels its Bushehr nuclear facility.
"Bushehr is only one reactor, and not necessarily the most significant one in respect to the nuclear issue. However, Iran's progress in enriching (uranium) and its aspirations for nuclear weapons continue and must be stopped," the finance minister said.
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