June 19, 2013
Netanyahu urges international 'red lines' to stop Iran
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged world powers to set a "clear red line" for Tehran's atomic activities and said they had failed to convince it of their resolve to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear arms.
Netanyahu's remarks suggested a growing Israeli impatience with its main ally, the United States, and other countries that have been pressing him to give diplomacy and sanctions more time to work and hold off on any go-it-alone Israeli strike on Iran.
"I believe the truth must be stated: The international community is not placing a clear red line for Iran and Iran does not see international resolve to stop its nuclear programme," Netanyahu told his cabinet.
"Unless Iran sees this clear red line and this clear resolve it will not stop moving forward with its nuclear programme, and Iran must not have nuclear weapons," he said in broadcast remarks.
Although Netanyahu did not single out the United States or U.S. President Barack Obama in his criticism, Israeli officials have said they hope for stronger language from the president about possible U.S. military action.
Obama, who has had a frosty relationship with Netanyahu, has insisted he will not allow Iran to build atomic weapons and that all options are on the table.
On Saturday Tzachi Hanegbi, an influential former Israeli legislator and a Netanyahu confidant, said "the rhetoric of the U.S. president is too vague, very amorphous" and Iran was not taking Obama's words seriously.
In a U.S. election year, Republican candidate Mitt Romney has also sharply criticized Obama's handling of Iran as not being tough enough.
Tehran says it is refining uranium to fuel a planned network of nuclear power plants so that it can export more of its oil and gas. The United States and its allies accuse Iran of a covert bid to develop the capability to make nuclear bombs.
Israel, believed to have the only nuclear arsenal in the Middle East, views a nuclear-armed Iran as a threat to its existence.