News24

Netanyahu: Iran unfazed by threats

2012-08-01 17:44

Jerusalem - US and Israeli threats of a military strike have done nothing to stop Iran's pursuit of a nuclear capability, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday in talks with US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta.

Speaking at a press conference in Jerusalem with the visiting Pentagon chief, Netanyahu warned that time was running out "to resolve this issue peacefully".

And Panetta used the visit to issue his own warning to Iran over its efforts to develop what Israel and much of the West believe is a bid for military nuclear capability.

"They have a choice to make," he told reporters on a visit to an Iron Dome battery in the southern port town of Ashkelon with Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak.

"They can either negotiate in a way that tries to resolve these issues and has them abiding by international rules and requirements and giving up their effort to develop their nuclear capability.

"But if they don't, and if they continue to make the decision to proceed with a nuclear weapon ...we have options that we are prepared to implement to ensure that does not happen."

Warning

Israel, the sole if undeclared nuclear power in the Middle East, has repeatedly warned that a nuclear Iran would pose an existential threat to it, and both Israeli and US officials have repeatedly warned that all options - including a military strike - were on the table for preventing such a scenario.

"You recently said that sanctions on Iran are having a big impact on the Iranian economy, and that is correct," Netanyahu told Panetta. "But unfortunately it is also true that neither sanctions nor diplomacy have yet had any impact on Iran's nuclear weapons programme.

"You yourself said a few months ago that when all else fails, America will act. But these declarations have also not yet convinced the Iranians to stop their programme," he warned.

"However forceful our statements, they have not convinced Iran that we are serious about stopping them," Netanyahu said.

On Tuesday night, the Israeli leader said he had not yet decided whether to mount a military strike on Iran's enrichment facilities.

Time

But he also said Israel would not rely on anyone else to guarantee its security - not even Washington.

Panetta also made clear it was not time for such a move, reiterating US pleas for more time to let diplomacy and sanctions work before considering a strike.

"We have to exhaust every option, every effort before we resort to military action," he said in Ashkelon.

"It is my responsibility as secretary of defence to provide the president with a full range of options, including military options should diplomacy fail," he added.

Asked how the Obama administration would react in the event of a unilateral Israeli strike, Panetta said that questions about what was in Israel's national security interest "is something that must be left up to the Israelis".

Unified stance

Panetta said he believed the diplomatic and economic sanctions were "having an effect" but stressed that a unified global stance would be the most crucial element in forcing Iran to rethink.

"The most effective way to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon is for the international community to be united, proving to Iran that it will only make itself less secure if it continues to try to pursue a nuclear weapon."

Barak said it was extremely unlikely that sanctions and diplomacy would convince Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions, which Tehran insists are purely peaceful in nature.

"The probability of this happening is extremely low," he remarked, noting that Iran was pushing ahead with daily enrichment of "uranium needed for their weapon."

"We have clearly have something to lose by this stretched time," he remarked.

Attack plans


Speaking ahead of his arrival in Israel, Panetta ruled out talks on "potential attack plans" with the Israelis.

"I think it's the wrong characterisation to say that we're going to be discussing potential attack plans," he said in Cairo. "What we are discussing are various contingencies on how we would respond."

Washington, he said, was continuing to "work on a number of options in that area". He did not give further details.
Panetta was to meet Israeli President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem later on Wednesday.

His visit comes just weeks after a secret visit by US National Security adviser Tom Donilon, who reportedly briefed Netanyahu on US contingency plans for a pre-emptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, Haaretz newspaper reported earlier this week.

In Tuesday's interview on private Channel 2 television, Netanyahu was asked if he had decided whether to strike Iran.

"I have not taken a decision," he said. "Israel's fate depends solely on us and no other country, however friendly," he said, in reference to the United States.

Comments
  • captaine.morgan.90 - 2012-08-01 18:27

    C'mon Netanyahu ... Just Do It! And get it over with. You've been singing this song for the past decade.

  • fidel.mgoqi - 2012-08-01 18:28

    The only reason there is so much chatter and no action is because everyone is too impotent to do anything to stop Iran.

      devon.riley.52 - 2012-08-01 18:47

      No trust me they have the ways and means. They first want to exhaust all peacefull measures. Cost of war is very high, and nobody wants to jump into any wars right now

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-01 19:51

      Fidel blinds himself to true reality with his highly immature anti-West core belief. He just doesn't see what is really happening, and defends his delusion vociferously.

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-08-02 06:52

      I will watch you eat your words.

      Larry - 2012-08-03 11:57

      You want to see Fidel eat his words? You should think before you type. Not one of your abilities, I suppose.

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-08-03 17:00

      Israel will do as it pleases and on its own volition. Nothing little Lesego can do about that. If and when Israel mounts a first strike against Iran, it will be a well considered action and in Israel's estimation to be necessary to its future protection and safety of its Jewish, Muslim and Christian citizens.

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-08-03 18:57

      You actually dont realise how stupid you sound. No wonder you are incognito and use a false name, so that people do not stop you in the street and laugh in your face. You are pitiful.

  • brendon.nel.7 - 2012-08-01 18:40

    Typical of the yanks. Why don't they get rid of their nukes if its such a issue. There's no evidence of a weapons program in Iran. Unless its more evidence like when Ben Laden masterminded 911.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-01 19:57

      Also a childish and uninformed view, no offense. You haven't taken the time to inform yourself about the massive reductions in nuclear weapons by the US and other nuclear powers in recent times. And you haven't informed yourself about who the Iranian regime is, distinct from the Iranian people.

  • Derrick Chong - 2012-08-01 18:59

    Just leave Iran alone and go play your politics somewhere else ...,its becoming so ridiculous with your silly threats. Do something positive like involving in the Olympics

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-01 19:45

      The Iranian regime adjusts elections to hold onto power. It has effectively stolen the Iranian government from the Iranian people. It funds the Jihadist movement that has killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of innocent people, mainly Muslims, in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere. It is actively supporting the unelected dictator of Syria, Bashar Assad's brutal oppression of Syrians wanting nothing more than the right to vote for their leaders, like we do in South Africa. It supports the stoning of women. It openly calls for the elimination of Israel, and denies the Holocaust, the single biggest attempt at human genocide in human history: six million people exterminated. Under no circumstances should this regime, distinct from the Iranian people, be allowed to have nuclear weapons, nor will it.

  • Jeremy.Traygon.Opperman - 2012-08-01 19:14

    Ohhhhhhh.... but its fine for Israel and the US to have nukes? What a chop.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-01 19:52

      This a childish view of the world, no offense. I strongly recommend that you inform yourself about who the Iranian regime is, distinct from the Iranian people, and what it does.

  • yazeed.khan1 - 2012-08-01 19:18

    war mongering again by the zionist. once the financial depression hits usa the wheels will come off and israel will no longer , just PALISTINE.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-01 19:42

      A truly delusional and racist idea.

  • yazeed.khan1 - 2012-08-01 19:18

    war mongering again by the zionist. once the financial depression hits usa the wheels will come off and israel will no longer be , just PALISTINE will exist.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-01 19:42

      A truly delusional and racist idea.

      tommo.too - 2012-08-02 00:05

      Yazeed. You're psychotic. Don't forget your medication.

  • John - 2012-08-01 20:24

    How dare Iran want nuclear weapons. Good old USA, Israel, Britain, France, even North Korea have a stockpile. Yet these have the biggest protest about Iran who probably have the weapon already which is why they are so cocky about it.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-01 20:30

      ?

  • The-Azanian - 2012-08-01 20:48

    If its US and Israel they'd rather shut up and focus on their fragile indebted economies. Seriously haven't they had enough of illegal invasions of afgan, lebanon, vietnam...blah blah. Not to mention Israel a country that almost the southern hemisphere don't here about because of dodgy-nuke fuelled behavior...and on top of it all Israel has real nuke and they are constantly threatening to bomb a country in persuit of building a nuclear power station. Believe me if i was jesus i would go and die for Iran's unknown sins. I think this is the starting of end of america...broke economy, blameful uncompetitive athletes, unfair game player \Apple\, US money bail-out addict Netanyahoo, China finally stepping on US shoes...eish i kinda feel sorry for them sometimes.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-01 21:07

      A ramble of disconnected thoughts without substance.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-01 21:09

      Israel was created in 1948 from 52% of the land formerly occupied by the Jewish and Palestinian people, and Palestine 43%. Most of the Israeli territory was the Negev Desert. Jerusalem fell into neither territory. Palestinians with their brutal, unelected neighbors declared war on her the very next day. The very next day. In the 1960's they invaded Israel twice. Full military invasions. The result: Israel survived and pushed them back, gaining territory in the process. This is the origin of what some wrongly call the occupied territories. There have been almost daily attacks by Palestinians, incited by their self-serving unelected backers. Palestinians even teach their children at Kindergarten to attack Israel, rather than be peaceful. Children. Kindergarten. From day one, and even today it's wage war on Israel. All that needs to happen is for Palestinians to choose peace side by side with Israel. This is more likely going forward now because the unelected dictators are being removed from power by their people one by one. They will no longer use the Palestinians for their own internal political ploys.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-01 21:09

      The Iranian regime adjusts elections to hold onto power. It has effectively stolen the Iranian government from the Iranian people. It funds the Jihadist movement that has killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of innocent people, mainly Muslims, in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere. It is actively supporting the unelected dictator of Syria, Bashar Assad's brutal oppression of Syrians wanting nothing more than the right to vote for their leaders, like we do in South Africa. It supports the stoning of women. It openly calls for the elimination of Israel, and denies the Holocaust, the single biggest attempt at human genocide in human history: six million people exterminated. Under no circumstances should this regime, distinct from the Iranian people, be allowed to have nuclear weapons, nor will it be so allowed.

      jaba.kov - 2012-08-01 22:26

      Lol azanian what a load of bullocks

  • tommo.too - 2012-08-02 00:09

    I can see trouble fast approaching. And the Israelis are going to give Teheran such a hiding they never will forget for a 1000 years. NEVER mess with Israel.

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-08-02 06:54

      Amen to that.

      brahmjulia - 2012-08-02 07:40

      And another Aaamen !

  • taurique.abdol - 2012-08-02 15:57

    Israel and US wants to rule the World, Bottom Line. They Started this so that they can Start a War with Iran, We've heard this all before yes with Afghanistan etc...sigh...Looks like War

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-02 16:56

      WHy would you want to drug yourself with numb rhetoric plied to you by unelected dictators and Jihadists? All the while hundreds of thousands of innocent Muslims are being killed or maimed by these same people in YOUR midsts. Wake up! You're doing nothing about them, and you're actually supporting the wholesale slaughter of your own people. Wake up!

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