Netanyahu: Sanctions without 'military option' won't stop Iran

Friday, January 14, 2011   E-Mail this story   Free Headline Alerts

JERUSALEM — Israel has demanded that international sanctions against Iran be accompanied by plans for a military strike on Teheran's nuclear weapons program.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Western and United Nations sanctions have not stopped Iran's drive for nuclear weapons. Netanyahu said sanctions must be bolstered and include preparations for a military strike.

"So, I think this is a prerequisite to make it clear, and the paradox is that if there is a credible military option, you won't have to use it," Netanyahu said.

In a briefing on Jan. 11, Netanyahu played down reports of an Israeli intelligence assessment that Teheran's nuclear weapons program has been severely hampered. The Israeli daily Haaretz reported that outgoing Mossad director Meir Dagan asserted that Iran would be unable to produce nuclear weapons before 2015.

The prime minister acknowledged that Iran has been struggling with Western and UN sanctions imposed in mid-2010. But Netanyahu said the sanctions failed to stop Iran's drive toward nuclear weapons.

"They're determined to move ahead despite every difficulty, every obstacle, every setback to create nuclear weapons," Netanyahu said. "And since the purpose of the sanctions is to change that determination, those sanctions have not yet achieved their objective. So I think they should be strictly enforced and I think they should be materially strengthened."

Netanyahu said Iran suspended its nuclear program in 2003 when it feared a U.S. military strike. He called on the international community to once again prepare a military option should sanctions fail to stop Teheran's program.

"Now I said two months ago that the only chance that these sanctions would achieve their objectives would be to couple them with an understanding from Iran that no matter what, they'll be followed — that is if they don’t achieve their goal they’ll be followed by a credible military option," Netanyahu said. "They will only stop going through the hardship of economic pain and all the dislocations that the sanctions cause in Iran if they thought it was useless, if they thought that there would be this credible military option at the end of the tunnel, so to speak."

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