Bloomberg News

Netanyahu Says World Not Doing Enough to Stop a Nuclear Iran

September 02, 2012

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister. Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said today that diplomacy and sanctions have failed to halt Iran’s nuclear program, and the international community is not demonstrating sufficient resolve on the issue.

“I believe we need to say the truth, that the international community has not set a clear ‘red line’ on Iran, and Iran doesn’t see international determination to stop its nuclear program,” Netanyahu said at the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, in remarks broadcast on Army Radio. “Iran cannot get nuclear weapons.”

Israeli leaders have said repeatedly that Iran’s nuclear program is intended to build weapons that pose an existential threat, and that all options are on the table to stop it. Netanyahu told U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Aug. 1 that time “is running out” for a peaceful solution to Iran’s atomic program. Israel is widely believed to be the only nuclear-armed state in the Middle East, a status the country hasn’t confirmed or denied.

The Israeli leader said today the report released by the International Atomic Energy Agency on Aug. 30 confirms that economic sanctions placed by the U.S. and European Union on Iran have failed to delay its nuclear program. The IAEA said Iran’s stockpile of medium-enriched uranium grew 31 percent in May.

Iranian leaders have said its program is intended only for civilian purposes, and it has no intention to make nuclear weapons. Negotiations between Iran and the so-called P5+1 -- the U.S., U.K., China, Russia, France and Germany -- on limiting its nuclear program have so far failed to reach agreement.

“The Iranians are using the discussions with the superpowers in order to gain time and to advance their nuclear program,” Netanyahu said today.

U.S. General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said last week that any Israeli attack on Iran would delay but not stop the Iranian program, and any gain from a delay would probably be lost to an all-out rush by Iran to make weapons after it ejects IAEA monitoring. Dempsey told journalists in London that an Israeli attack lacking international support could also help Iran by causing sanctions to unravel.

To contact the reporter on this story: Calev Ben-David in Jerusalem at cbendavid@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net


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