Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu skillfully skirted U.S. politics on Sunday by refusing to endorse either presidential candidate, but openly lamented that Iran’s nuclear program remains intact four years since the last election.
The comment by one of the U.S.’s closest allies – with heavy political influence among the U.S. electorate – hinted at a reproach of President Barack Obama, who opposes a near-term military strike on Iran and has focused U.S. policy instead on diplomatic pressure and sanctions.
Iran has defended its nuclear program as peaceful and rebuffed international efforts to dismantle it.
Netanyahu said he will raise the issue with Mitt Romney when he meets with the Republican presidential hopeful on July 28, just as he discussed the matter with Obama as the Democratic candidate in the 2008 election.
The Israeli prime minister said he will tell Romney “about Israel’s desire for peace and also about Israel’s concern with the arming of Iran with nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, it’s still with us four years later,” Netanyahu told CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
Netanyahu later told “Fox News Sunday” that Obama has stood with him in stating unequivocally that Iran must not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons.
“But the jury is out on all of us, because the real thing – the real question – is not stated policy but actual results on the ground,” he said.
The U.S. relationship with Israel, and what to do about Iran’s nuclear program, represents one of the starkest contrasts between Obama and Romney. Romney has not explicitly threatened a U.S. military strike on Iran if he is elected. But he has suggested he would take a tougher stance than Obama.
“If we re-elect Barack Obama, Iran will have a nuclear weapon. And if you elect Mitt Romney, Iran will not have a nuclear weapon,” Romney said last year at a GOP primary debate focused on foreign policy.
Source: ISRAEL HAYOM