Netanyahu: Iran's Leaders Guided By "Unbelievable Fanaticism"
September 16, 2012
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu insisted once again on Sunday there must be "red lines" on halting Iran's nuclear ambitions, a stance the United States has rejected, AFP reported.
"They're moving very rapidly to completing the enrichment of the uranium that they need to produce a nuclear bomb. In six months or so they'll be 90 percent of the way there," Netanyahu was quoted as having told CNN's "State of the Union" program.
"It's important to place a red line before Iran, and I think that actually reduces the chance of military conflict, because if they know there's a point, a stage in their enrichment or other nuclear activities that they cannot cross because they'll face consequences, I think they will actually not cross it," he added.
Netanyahu has been pushing the U.S. to define clear "red lines" that Iran cannot cross in its nuclear program, but President Barack Obama has rejected that idea.
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta backed Obama on the weekend and dismissed Netanyahu's "red line" demand, saying that red lines "are kind of political arguments that are used to try to put people in a corner."
Netanyahu maintained during the interview with CNN that telling Iran there is a definite point it cannot cross would serve as a pre-emptive and effective deterrent.
"There wasn't such a red line before Saddam Hussein, on the eve of the Gulf War, when he invaded Kuwait, maybe that war could have been avoided," Netanyahu said.
"As Iran gets closer and closer to its completion of its nuclear program, I think it's important to put a red line before them and that's something we should discuss with the United States," he added.
In a second interview he gave to NBC's "Meet the Press", Netanyahu fired at Iran, saying its leaders are guided by "unbelievable fanaticism."
"I think Iran is very different. They put their zealotry above their survival. They have suicide bombers all over the place. I wouldn't rely on their rationality," Netanyahu said, suggesting Iran cannot be contained in the same way as the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
Netanyahu said that critics who argue that taking action against Iran's nuclear program was "a lot worse" than a nuclear-armed Tehran, or that an Iran with nuclear weapons would stabilize the Middle East, "have set a new standard for human stupidity."
Meanwhile on Sunday, the head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards warned of retaliation against the Gulf's strategic Strait of Hormuz, U.S. bases in the Middle East and Israel if his country was to be attacked.
General Mohammad Ali Jafari said that the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow channel at the entrance of the Gulf through which a third of the world's traded oil passes, would be a legitimate target for Iran should it be attacked.
He suggested that U.S. military bases -- such as those in Bahrain, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia -- would also be fair game for retaliation by Iranian missiles or proxy forces.