Last updated: 3 September, 2012

Netanyahu wants clear red line to avoid Iran war

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that the international community must set a “clear red line” in order to avoid a war over Iran’s controversial nuclear programme.

“This is a brutal regime that is racing ahead with its nuclear programme because it doesn’t see a clear red line from the international community,” Netanyahu said at a meeting with Israeli and US servicemen wounded in conflict.

“And it doesn’t see the necessary resolve and determination from the international community. The greater the resolve and the clearer the red line, the less likely we’ll have conflict,” he said.

Media reports in Israel indicated that Netanyahu is now trying to ease tensions with US President Barack Obama, whom he has been pressing to establish a threshold for military action against Iran over its nuclear programme.

According to the reports, tensions have grown in recent days over Netanyahu’s threat of an Israeli raid on Iranian nuclear facilities without White House approval.

On Sunday, Netanyahu lamented the absence of a “clear red line” in response to the Iranian nuclear issue, in a statement seen as thinly veiled criticism of the US president.

“I think that we should speak the truth — the international community is not drawing a clear red line for Iran,” Netanyahu said at the start of his weekly cabinet meeting.

“Iran doesn’t see determination from the international community to stop its nuclear programme,” he added.

According to Israeli television, his message explained a report published Monday in the New York Times that said the Obama administration was taking “a range of steps short of war to prevent an Israeli attack on Iran.

Israel has not ruled out an attack on Iran to prevent it from developing a nuclear weapon. Iran’s uranium enrichment has raised international suspicion, although Tehran says it is for peaceful purposes.