OCCUPIED-AL-QUDS: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday warned that the “tough sanctions” currently imposed on Iran might not be enough to prevent Tehran from obtaining a military nuclear capability.
“We need to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons,” he told foreign diplomats attending a reception at the presidential residence in al-Quds, marking the 65th anniversary of the Jewish state’s foundation.
“We’ve seen the consequences of a rogue regime having atomic weapons,” he said in reference to North Korea. “Tough sanctions and talk don’t always do the job.”
Israel believes that the Islamic republic, which has issued many bellicose statements about the Jewish state, is working to achieve a military nuclear capability and has not ruled out a military strike to prevent this happening.
Last month Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said his country would “annihilate” the cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa if it comes under attack by Israel.
Iran denies it is developing an atomic bomb and says it needs its nuclear programme of uranium enrichment for peaceful medical and energy purposes. Israel is widely believed to be the Middle East’s sole nuclear-armed state, albeit undeclared.
Earlier on Tuesday, Israel’s Chief of Staff Benny Gantz said the country’s military was capable of attacking Iran on its own without foreign support.
Asked in an interview on public radio if the military could wage attacks on Iran “alone” — without the support of countries such as the US — Gantz replied: “Yes, absolutely.” “We have our plans and forecasts… if the time comes we’ll decide” on whether to take military action, he said.
Gantz’s comments echoed statements earlier this month by Netanyahu, who said Israel would “at no stage… abandon our fate into the hands of other countries, even our best friends.”
In a separate interview on Tuesday, Gantz said the possibility of an Israeli strike on Iran was not imminent, and that sanctions imposed by the international community should be given priority to halt Tehran’s nuclear drive.
“Iran has the means to obtain nuclear capability before the end of the year, but this does not mean it’ll get there,” he told news website YNet, adding that “sanctions, isolation and continued pressure” on Tehran must intensify.
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