Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said he does not think war with Iran is inevitable, in an interview with FOX News aired Wednesday.
Advocating a credible military threat as the only way Iran can be prevented from continuing its drive for nuclear weapons, Netanyahu repeated a point he has made a number of times in the United States. "The only time they backed away was in 2003," when the regime in Tehran thought such a threat existed.
"So the paradox is that if they actually believe that they are going to face the military option," the prime minister added, "then you probably will not need the military option."
The time when Iran actually has nuclear weapons, the prime minister explained, is getting closer with every day that passes.
"It was a lot further away 15 years ago when I started talking about it. It was a lot closer 10 years ago. It was a lot closer five months ago," Netanyahu said. "They are getting there and they are getting very, very close."
Sanctions, he said, have not achieved the one goal they have - stopping Iran's nuclear development.
Asked of the possibility that Tehran would use negotiations with the West to buy time for continuing its nuclear program, he warned, "I think they can bamboozle the West."
The only way strong sanctions would work "is if they are coupled with a clear military option that the Iranians believe would be applied to them," Netanyahu said.
Although the prime minister issued his usual dismissal of the question about Israel's ability to strike Iran's nuclear program on its own, he did say, "We do not have the capabilities of the United States, but we are a capable country."
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