Netanyahu: Sanctions failing to convince Iran to back down from nuclear program (HAŽARETZ NEWS) By Moti Bassok and Reuters 04/04/12)
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that
international sanctions were hurting Iran´s economy but not enough to
persuade it to curb its nuclear ambitions even slightly.
"The Iranian government ... is having economic troubles but it has
yet to move backward, even a millimeter, in its nuclear program,"
Netanyahu told a news conference he called to mark his right-wing
government´s third anniversary in power.
"Will these difficulties bring the government in Tehran to stop its
nuclear programe? Time will tell. I cannot say to you that this will
happen. I know there are difficulties, but there has yet to be a
In the press conference, Netanyahu also talked about his governments
domestic achievements, saying that In its first three years, the
government "has brought about a series of reforms and important
structural changes that helped the economy grow, helped reduce social
disparities and helped Israel through the severe economic crisis of
2008 and 2009.
Guests at the press conference received a thick booklet marking the
steps the government has taken, which include lowering the
unemployment rate and improving Israel´s credit rating, as well as
lowering gasoline and electricity prices.
Netanyahu´s comments on Iran came after a senior Revolutionary Guards
commander was quoted as saying that the United States would not be
safe from retaliation if Washington attacked Iran in an attempt to
blunt its nuclear program.
On Friday, U.S. President Barack Obama vowed to press ahead with
tough sanctions on Tehran, saying there was sufficient oil supply in
the world market to allow countries to cut Iranian imports.
In his own remarks, Netanyahu shed no new light on how Israel might
deal with what he has said is Iran´s intention to build atomic
weapons that could threaten the existence of the Jewish state.
Both Israel, widely believed to be the Middle East´s only nuclear
power, and its main ally, the United States, have held out the
prospect of military action against Iran if sanctions do not work.
Iran has said it is enriching uranium for peaceful purposes.
Returning to a familiar theme in Israel´s discourse on Iran,
Netanyahu contrasted the helplessness of Jews during the Nazi
Holocaust to the military strength and diplomatic influence of the
Jewish state founded after World War Two.
"The Jewish people did not have these capabilities seventy, eighty
years ago. We did not have these tools. Today these tools exist, and
it is our duty to use them in order to thwart the nefarious
intentions of our enemies," he said, without referring directly to
A rash of public comments two months ago by Israeli officials
suggesting time was running out for Israel to mount any effective
military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities, some of which
have been moved underground, stoked international concern.
But more recently, Israel has cautiously welcomed the planned
resumption later this month of big-power nuclear talks with Iran.
"I will do all I can to fend off this danger," Netanyahu said in
reference to Iran´s nuclear program, "I hope we will be able to do
this together with the leading players in the international
community, it is a great danger to them, but first and foremost it is
a danger to us." (© Copyright 2012 Ha´aretz 04/04/12)
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