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Netanyahu pressures Obama on Iran suspect nuclear program

Mon 17, September 2012 Kategori Interview
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has redoubled efforts to pull the US deeper into the confrontation with Iran over its suspect nuclear program, a push that coincides with Republican challenger Mitt Romney's attempts to convince American voters that President Barack Obama is weak on foreign policy.
Netanyahu spoke only days after the killing of the US ambassador and three other Americans in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi last week marked the most dramatic in a series of global Islamic protests at US diplomatic posts against a California-made film that denigrates the Prophet Muhammad.

Netanyahu said little, if anything, new on the Iranian nuclear program in two interviews aired on NBC and CNN Sunday morning television news programs in the United States. More of note was the timing of the Netanyahu remarks to an American audience in the final weeks of the US presidential campaign.

The message implicitly fit in with Romney's harsh rhetoric on Iran. Romney, like Obama, has said he would not allow Iran to add a nuclear weapon to its arsenal. The Republican nominee has been critical of Obama for not acting quickly or forcefully enough, but has not offered specifics about what he would do that is different. Neither Obama nor Romney have called for US military intervention any time soon.

Obama insists that time remains for tough sanctions imposed by the US and its allies to force a diplomatic solution. Netanyahu argues time is running out and that Washington must quickly draw "red lines” past which Iran cannot move in its nuclear program without engendering an American military attack. Netanyahu has threatened that Israel would attack Iran alone if it determines Tehran is reaching a point beyond which the Israeli military could do little to stop the march toward building a nuclear weapon.

The United States, its Western allies and Israel all accuse Iran of using what it says is a nuclear program designed only for electricity generation and medical research as cover to build a weapon.

The savvy Netanyahu, who lived many years in the United States and once worked at the same financial firm as Romney, denied he was intervening in the US presidential race. He and Obama have a cool relationship, and earlier this summer he accorded Romney the trappings of a visiting head of state when the candidate made a gaffe-filled foreign tour to build his standing on foreign policy. As Muslim demonstrators threaten US diplomatic missions throughout the Islamic world, Netanyahu's remarks on NBC sought to draw on the violence to bolster his argument.
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