Even as President Obama and his team are preparing a major tour through Israel and the Middle East next month, two Israeli leaders today significantly ratched up the prospect of an Israeli military strike by this summer. Is it a bluff, or is Jerusalem running out of patience?
“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented Wednesday on the nuclear negotiations between the West and Iran, saying that the six powers should clarify to Tehran that if it continues to pursue its nuclear program it would face ‘military sanctions,'” reports Ynet News in Israel. “As the talks drew to their end, Netanyahu said that if Iran’s refusal persists, ‘There are other means of compelling Iran to adhere to the international community’s demands.'”
“Netanyahu said that it was unlikely that the Islamic Republic would capitulate to the West’s demands, and curb its nuclear endeavors,” noted Ynet. “‘Just like North Korea, (Iran) continues to flout all international standards,’ Netanyahu said, adding that the international community should also toughen the financial sanctions imposed on the ayatollah’s regime. As the nuclear talks in Kazakhstan drew to an end Wednesday, Iran’s chief negotiator Said Jalili told reporters that the negotiations were ‘positive’ and that the offers made by the P5+1 group of nations’ delegates were ‘more realistic than those presented in the past and made an effort to approach the positions of Iran.’ According to Iran’s Press TV, the next round of talks between Tehran and the six powers – Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany – will be held in April.”
The Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C. is echoing Netanyahu’s message today.
“I think there’s time, but there’s not much time” for sanctions to work, Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren told USA Today. “There’s a window for diplomacy, but the window is closing….We know that given the centrifuges that they have now, they will pass a red line. That’s the point where we will no longer be able to prevent them from making a nuclear weapon, and that line is coming up in the summer. If they install the next generation of centrifuges — and they’re installing them right now — (and) if those centrifuges begin to spin, then the time will be even shorter.”
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