(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
The window of opportunity to measure the effect of severe economic sanctions against Iran in an effort to stop its nuclear program is not much more than one year, Likud opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu said Monday.
"What is urgently needed is massive economic pressure on Iran in a global effort to stop its nuclear program, [but] these sanctions have months, a year, but not much more [to work]," Netanyahu said in an address to the Jerusalem Conference. He added that if tough economic sanctions did not work then there were "other means" to stop Iran.
Netanyahu has previously stated that the world has "1,000 days" to stop Iran's nuclear program, in an apparent reference to Israeli intelligence estimates that an Iranian nuclear weapon is not expected to be completed before 2009.
The former premier has been the leading voice in Israel for taking an aggressive stance against Iran, frequently comparing the current era of world reaction toward Iran to that toward pre-World War II Nazi Germany.
He said an international "genocide divestment" campaign should include sanctions against both the Islamic Republic and Sudan.
In his address, Netanyahu also said there would be no chance of peace with the Palestinians as long as they kept up their demands for the return of refugees to Israel.
"Until the Palestinian side internalizes that the fantasy of the right of return will not be realized then we will not have a partner for peace," he said.
Netanyahu, who is the leading candidate to succeed the beleaguered Prime Minister Ehud Olmert according to public opinion polls, acceded that he did not have the backing of 61 MKs necessary to topple the government at present due to the parliamentarians' "personal interests," but said that early elections were only "a question of time."