“Iran is the foremost sponsor of terrorism, and everything must be done to keep Iran, the world’s most dangerous regime, from developing the world’s most dangerous weapons,” Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu told visiting US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta today.
During the meeting in Yerushalayim, the Israeli premier said the US’s strong bi-partisan message of support for Israel is “deeply appreciated” at a time of “great instability in our region.”
“Today we’ll have the opportunity to discuss the many challenges facing our region and no challenge is greater than stopping Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapons capability,” the PM told Panetta.
“You recently said that sanctions on Iran are having a big impact on the Iranian economy and that is correct. And I’m sure that the recent sanctions advanced by the President and the Congress will have an even greater impact on Iran’s economy.
“But unfortunately, it’s also true that neither sanctions nor diplomacy have yet had any impact on Iran’s nuclear weapons program. America and Israel have also made clear that all options are on the table.
“You yourself said a few months ago that when all else fails, America will act. But these declarations have also not yet convinced the Iranians to stop their program. However forceful our statements, they have not convinced Iran that we are serious about stopping them,” Netanyahu said during the meeting.
“Right now the Iranian regime believes that the international community does not have the will to stop its nuclear program. This must change and it must change quickly, because time to resolve this issue peacefully is running out,” the PM argued.
Panetta, for his part, reiterated that the United States stand by Israel and is committed to its security, and that “all options,” including military force, are possible. “We will not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon, period,” he stressed.
Later, Panetta met President Shimon Peres, who said he favors a peaceful resolution to the nuclear crisis but stressed that Iran must be made aware that a military option exists.
The US defense secretary assured Peres that the US would not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons.
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