MOSCOW, July 15 (RIA Novosti) - Israel is likely to take steps ahead of the United States in regard to Iran as Tehran is getting “closer and closer to the bomb,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview with CBS television channel.
Western powers say Iran is attempting to build an atomic weapon, but Tehran insists its program has entirely peaceful purposes and has decried international pressure as unacceptable interference in its sovereign affairs.
“...Our clocks are ticking at a different pace,” Netanyahu said. “We're closer than the United States; we're more vulnerable. And therefore, we'll have to address this question of how to stop Iran, perhaps before the United States does.”
The prime minister added that Israel will not wait “until it's too late,” as Tehran will come up with nuclear weapons at any time in the nearest future.
“They're edging up to the red line,” he said. “They haven't crossed it yet. They're also building faster centrifuges that would enable them to jump the line, so to speak, at a much faster rate - that is, within a few weeks.”
The premier said the situation did not change after new President of Iran Hassan Rouhani was sworn in last month and more sanctions must be imposed in regard to Tehran, adding that if the sanctions did not work, the military action would be a possibility.
“You should ratchet up the sanctions and make it clear to Iran that they won't get away with it. And if sanctions don't work, they have to know that you'll be prepared to take military action - that's the only thing that will get their attention,” he said.
Rouhani, 64, a former lead Iranian negotiator on nuclear issues, gained more than 50 percent of the votes in the country’s presidential elections in June. He replaced Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose presidency has seen sharp deterioration in ties with Europe and the United States and the imposition of economic sanctions provoked by international opposition to Tehran's nuclear program.