Friday, October 3, 2014

Michael Wilner: Netanyahu suggests force on the table if US agrees to 'bad deal' with Iran

by Michael Wilner

Israel may consider the use of force against Iran if world powers accept a nuclear agreement that Jerusalem finds unacceptable, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu suggested on Wednesday.

In an interview with MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell, Netanyahu said he "hoped" that US President Barack Obama shares his standards for a "bad deal" with Iran over its nuclear program.

Israel seeks the full dismantlement of Iran's uranium enrichment infrastructure and its heavy-water plutonium reactor – what he views as the guaranteed pacification of Iran's nuclear program, which currently spans thousands of centrifuges.

Those centrifuges, he told Mitchell, "are only good for one thing: to make bomb-grade material."

Negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 – the US, United Kingdom, France, China, Russia and Germany – were a primary topic of conversation between the two men and their national security teams in the Oval Office on Wednesday.

"All I'll say is, Israel always reserves the right to defend itself," Netanyahu said, asked what his government would do if a bad deal was signed and sealed.

Pressed on whether that might lead to the use of preemptive force, Netanyahu said: "I'm the only Israeli who doesn't talk about military operations."

Another major topic during a two-hour conversation with National Public Radio was Israel's rapprochement with leading Arab states.

Netanyahu said that an improvement in relations with moderate Sunni powers might facilitate peace with the Palestinian Authority – an inverse of the formula long suggested by the US government.

Such a diplomatic opening must be "harnessed," Netanyahu said, spurred on by the spread of extremism throughout the region by Hamas, Iran, and the Islamic State terror network.

Michael Wilner


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