Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that time was running out for a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear threat at a speech in Washington yesterday, and in a meeting with US President Barack Obama. He told a gathering of the pro-Israel AIPAC group on Monday night, “We waited for diplomacy to work; we’ve waited for sanctions to work; none of us can afford to wait much longer.”
His speech stressed Israel’s obligation to prevent Tehran from crossing a nuclear threshold. “A nuclear-armed Iran would dramatically increase terrorism by giving terrorists a nuclear umbrella,” he said. Netanyahu reiterated the fact that Israel reserves its right to protect itself and added that for Israel, all options remain on the table. Netanyahu drew an analogy to 1944, when the US government refused requests by Jewish leaders to bomb the Auschwitz death camp, and declared that, “Never again will we not be masters of the fate of our very survival.”
Earlier yesterday, US President Barack Obama hosted PM Netanyahu for a three-hour meeting at the White House. In a statement to the press Netanyahu thanked President Obama for affirming, in Obama’s speech to AIPAC on Sunday, that “when it comes to security, Israel has the right, the sovereign right to make its own decisions.”
An unnamed White House official quoted in the New York Times described the meeting as “friendly, straightforward, and serious,” though some differences remain. Israel wants Iran to abandon uranium enrichment before the international community reopens negotiations over the future of its nuclear programme. Israel is also concerned that the diplomatic window to resolve the Iranian threat is closing. The US president, meanwhile, argued the there is still time to resolve the issue diplomatically.
At the end of the White House meeting, PM Netanyahu expressed his satisfaction that the international community is united against the Iranian nuclear threat. “We managed to convince the international community that we are talking about a real threat and danger,” Netanyahu said.