By ISRAEL HAYOM—
Clearer red lines drawn by the international community on Iran’s nuclear aspirations would diminish the chances of a conflict, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday in a possible signal that Israel and the U.S. are aligning their positions on Iran. The remark followed recent reports of disagreements between the two countries on the matter.
Israel believes that Iran’s nuclear program could be stopped if U.S. President Barack Obama was to make a statement demanding an immediate halt to Iran’s uranium enrichment and the opening of nuclear facilities for inspection by a set date, and stipulate that if Iran failed to meet these demands, the U.S. would take military action.
Netanyahu thinks that such a statement would force Iran to choose between its nuclear aspirations and the survival of the current regime.
“If Obama publicly presents a red line to Iran, this will be a very positive development,” an Israeli official in Jerusalem said.
Speaking at a meeting with a group of wounded American and Israeli veterans on Monday, Netanyahu said: “The greater the resolve and the clearer the red line, the less likely we’ll have conflict.”
“The biggest threat we are all facing is Iran’s plan to develop nuclear weapons capabilities,” Netanyahu said. “This is a brutal regime that is racing ahead with its nuclear program because it doesn’t see a clear red line from the international community and it doesn’t see the necessary resolve and determination from the international community.”
Netanyahu’s statement came one day after The New York Times reported that Obama was considering officially defining red lines for Iran, that, if crossed by the Iranians, would prompt U.S. military action.
According to the report, the move is aimed at calming the Israeli government and preventing Israel from launching an independent military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Obama is also reportedly considering resuming covert activities, aimed at preventing Iran from gaining nuclear capability, which have been “previously considered and rejected.”
The U.S. has already planned naval maneuvers in the international waters of the Persian Gulf, the deployment of new aerial defense systems in that region, and a stronger clamp-down on Iranian oil revenues.
U.S. Central Intelligence Agency chief David Petraeus landed in Turkey on Monday and various reports said he would also visit Israel to discuss the Iranian nuclear issue.
President Shimon Peres hinted at Iran during a speech at the Israel Defense Prize ceremony on Monday.
“I say today to our enemies, abandon the path of war and terror,” he said. “The Middle East can only be freed from suffering and hardship through peaceful means. We do not threaten anyone and we are not frightened of the threats against us. Israel can repel any threat, whether near or far away. We have known great threats and prevailed.”