Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has pledged that Iran will not develop nuclear weapons if he is reelected on January 22.
“As long as I am prime minister Iran will not have nuclear weapons,” he said.
Netanyahu spoke in a prerecorded Channel 2 interview aired on the Uvda investigative journalism program on Monday night, as he linked stopping Iranian nuclear weapons to his bid for another term as prime minister.
He said that when he entered office four years ago, there were barely any real sanctions on the Islamic Republic. He had placed all his efforts on thwarting Iran’s nuclear program.
Netanyahu said international leaders including US President Barack Obama and French President François Hollande have agreed that Israel has a right to defend itself.
The program flipped to a clip of former prime minister Ehud Olmert speaking, in which he noted that Israel was obviously not acting alone against Iran, given that the Jewish state would use weapons purchased from other countries.
“Will someone explain to me what planes we will use, what bombs, what technology? Those that are ours, or those that we got from others? If we are lacking something, who will we ask [to help us]?” Olmert asked.
Olmert is considering running in the elections and has already attacked Netanyahu this week with regard to the frozen peace talks with the Palestinians.
Netanyahu said that at the end of the day, it was his responsibility as prime minister to stop Tehran’s nuclear threat.
“Iran is serious,” he said. He would be happy if other nations would prevent a nuclear Iran either through sanctions or other means. But if there is no other choice and our back is to the wall, we will do what we need to do to defend ourselves.”
He added that a credible military threat was an important part of deterrence.
Uvda host Ilana Dayan Dayan asked him if his words were not endangering the country.
“Do you know what is dangerous?” the prime minister asked.
“Not what I say, but what Iran is doing. We can’t afford to put our heads in the sand.
“There is doubt about Iran’s intention’s to destroy Israel,” he said. “It’s not a bluff. If there is no other way to stop Iran, Israel is prepared to act.”
He rejected claims that he was not capable of acting against Iran.
“Of course I am capable,” he said.
Netanyahu ducked the question as to whether he would reappoint Ehud Barak to the post of defense minister in the next government.
But he said, “I and the defense minister see eye to eye on the Iranian threat.”
The first part of the report, previewed on Sunday, detailed how Netanyahu and Barak ordered the IDF to raise its alert level ahead of a possible attack on Iranian nuclear facilities in 2010, a move that drew powerful objections from both then- IDF chief of staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi and then-Mossad director Meir Dagan.
During a meeting of select senior ministers in 2010, Netanyahu allegedly ordered the IDF to raise its state of alert to “Pplus,” reserved for an imminent state of war, according to the report. Netanyahu was rebuffed by Ashkenazi and Dagan, who said they considered the order “illegal.”