Iran’s nuclear ambitions: Israel will not wait until it’s too late, warns Benjamin Netanyahu

Israel's prime minister told the US television
network CBS that Iran is getting “closer and closer to the bomb”

Jerusalem

Benjamin Netanyahu has again warned that Israel will not wait “until it’s too late” to stymie Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and that scientists in the Islamic Republic could be ready to make a push towards producing a bomb within a few weeks.

In a rare interview with the Western media, Mr Netanyahu told the US television network CBS that Iran is getting “closer and closer to the bomb”. “I will not wait until it’s too late,” he added. The comments come on the eve US Secretary of State John Kerry’s latest visit to the region.

Mr Netanyahu has made stopping Iran’s nuclear programme his priority since being returned to office in January. Until now, Israeli officials have maintained that its allies – by which they largely mean the United States – should present a credible military threat as well as the crippling economic sanctions that have already been imposed on Tehran.

Mr Netanyahu appeared to hint in the CBS interview that he felt that a decision on any military action against Iran may be nearing. “They’re edging up to the red line,” Mr Netanyahu said in reference to a speech he made to the United Nations last year in which he held up a cartoon picture of a bomb with a red line drawn across it, to demonstrate how close Iran is to producing a bomb. “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,” he said.

Iran denies that its nuclear programme is intent on making a nuclear weapon, rather it is designed for the production of efficient nuclear energy.

Some in the West welcomed last month’s election of Hassan Rouhani as the next president of Iran, pointing out that among the list of six candidates, he was the most moderate. At the time of his election, Dr Rouhani made conciliatory statements in relation to the US, and on Iran’s nuclear programme; a marked change from the approach adopted by his predecessor, the outgoing president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

“We’ve spoken many times, President Obama and I, about the need to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons. I know that is the US policy. What is important is to convey to them, especially after the election, that that policy will not change. ...And [it] should be backed up with ratcheted sanctions. 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.”

Mr Netanyahu, dismissed the idea that Dr Rouhani’s election would lead to a change in Iranian nuclear policy. Mr Netanyahu said that Dr Rohani had himself referred to Mr Ahmadinejad as being “a wolf in wolf’s clothing.” Dr Rohani’s approach, though, the Israeli leader said, is to, “be a wolf in sheep’s clothing - smile and build a bomb.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister
TVSPOILER ALERT: It's all coming together as series returns to form
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
art
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine