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Netanyahu Continues to Push US to Set 'Red Line' for Iran

Common Dreams staff

(photo: Nir Keidar)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continued to push the U.S. to set a "red line" for Iran, a limit it must not cross or face military conflict.

"You have to place that red line before them now, before it's too late," Netanyahu told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday.

Making his case for the bellicose rhetoric, Netanyahu also told CNN's Candy Crowley: "I think it's important to place a red line before Iran, and I think that actually reduces the chance of a military conflict because, if they know there's a point, a stage in the enrichment or other nuclear activities that they cannot cross because they'll face consequences, I think they'll actually not cross it."

The U.S. has resisted calls to make the "red line," as the Guardian's Harriet Sherwood notes:

Both secretary of state Hillary Clinton and defence secretary Leon Panetta have dismissed Netanyahu's demand for clear red lines. In an interview with Foreign Policy, Panetta accused Netanyahu of trying to force the US into a corner over its Iran policy. "The fact is … presidents of the United States, prime ministers of Israel or any other country … don't have, you know, a bunch of little red lines that determine their decisions," he said. "What they have are facts that are presented to them about what a country is up to, and then they weigh what kind of action is needed to be taken in order to deal with that situation. I mean, that's the real world. Red lines are kind of political arguments that are used to try to put people in a corner."

Despite Netanyahu's statements that Iran "would be on the brink of nuclear weapons capability in six to seven months," investigate journalist Gareth Porter reported earlier this month that "International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report made public Thursday reveals that Iran has actually reduced the amount of 20-percent enriched uranium available for any possible 'breakout' to weapons grade enrichment over the last three months rather than increasing it."

"Contrary to the impression conveyed by most news media coverage, the report provides new evidence that Iran’s enrichment strategy is aimed at enhancing its bargaining position in negotiations with the United States rather than amassing such a breakout capability," wrote Porter.

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