With United States Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney visiting, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that a “credible military threat” was necessary to discourage Iran from seeking nuclear weapons. Netanyahu—echoing comments made last week by his defense minister, Ehud Barak—said the current sanctions are not enough.
“We have to be honest and say that all the sanctions and diplomacy so far have not set back the Iranian program by one iota,” Netanyahu was quoted by a press release as saying in remarks alongside Romney. “And that’s why I believe that we need a strong and credible military threat, coupled with the sanctions, to have a chance to change that situation.”
Romney, the Republican challenger to Barak Obama in the upcoming US presidential elections in November, has been an outspoken supporter of Israel on the campaign trail. Iran has also been a subject of concern to him as well, which Netanyahu pointed out during their joint press conference.
“I heard some of your remarks a few days ago—you said that the greatest danger facing the world is of the Ayatollah regime possessing nuclear weapons capability,” the Israeli leader said. “Mitt, I couldn’t agree with you more, and I think it’s important to do everything in our power to prevent the Ayatollahs from possessing the capability.”
Romney said the two men would discuss the Iranian threat. “Your perspectives with regards to Iran and its effort to become a nuclear-capable nation are ones which I take with great seriousness and look forward to chatting with you about further actions that we can take to dissuade Iran from their nuclear folly,” the former Massachusetts Governor was quoted in the press release as saying.
Netanyahu’s comments come just days after Barak expressed a similar view on Iran in a speech. The Israeli Defense Minister noted that sanctions and diplomacy to date have not proven to be enough, further hinting that a military strike on Iran’s nuclear program would be preferable to dealing with a nuclear Tehran.
While the US and Israel agree on the danger posed by a nuclear Iran and have both publicly said that “all options” remain on the table for dealing with it, some American officials have also been outspoken about the danger of a military strike on Iran. Such an attack could cause oil prices to surge and result in a regional war. Former Israeli officials have also publicly expressed such concerns.
Barak, however, implied that any risk of a war is not as dangerous as terror-sponsoring Iran becoming a nuclear power and regional hegemon. “I am well aware of the difficulties involved in thwarting Iran’s attempts to acquire a nuclear weapon,” Barak was quoted as saying last week. “However, it is clear to me that without a doubt, dealing with the threat itself will be far more complicated, far more dangerous and far more costly in terms of both resources and human life.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, July 29, 2012)