Netanyahu on U.S. news shows calls for red line on Iran


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took to American news shows to push for red lines on Iran’s nuclear program.

Netanyahu appeared Sunday on NBC’s "Meet the Press" in a pre-recorded interview.

"Iran is guided by a leadership with an unbelievable fanaticism," Netanyahu told host David Gregory. "It’s the same fanaticism that you see storming your embassies today. You want these fanatics to have nuclear weapons?" 

Iranian fanatics, he adds, "put their zealotry above survival."

Netanyahu also decried American columnists and commentators who have said that an Iran with nuclear weapons could stabilize the Middle East. They have "set a new standard for human stupidity," Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu told CNN’s "State of the Union" in a pre-recorded interview that demanding red lines on Iran now is not an "electoral issue."

"There is a common interest of all Americans of all political persuasions to stop Iran," he said. 

The prime minister also said on both programs that he would not be "dragged" into the U.S. elections. When Gregory pressed him to refute critics who have charged President Obama with having "thrown Israel under the bus," Netanyahu said, "There is no bus."

Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor, who is responsible for nuclear and intelligence affairs, told Israel Radio on Sunday that the United States should consider stopping Iran’s nuclear weapons program sooner rather than later. 

"When is the point at which it should be stopped? Just when the bomb is assembled on the tip of the missile and is ready for launch?" he asked.

Meridor said it should be before Iran reaches the stage where it can decide to make a nuclear-tipped weapon in a short amount of time, whenever it wants, even years from now.

"Even an Iran that is a decision away from nuclear weaponry, be it within days or weeks, is a nuclear-armed Iran," he said.

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