(JERUSALEM) — An Israeli newspaper is reporting that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would settle for partially dismantling Iran’s rogue nuclear program if it meant setting back their goal to make atomic weapons for a few years.
According to The Jerusalem Post, Netanyahu has told other Israeli officials in private meetings that a preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities doesn’t have to be totally successful in wiping out their program.
The Israeli leader contends that simply hampering Iran’s ability to develop a nuclear arsenal could buy Israel time for “unforeseen circumstances” that could wind up being a regime change in Iran, as unlikely as that seems at the moment.
Netanyahu appears to be of the same mindset as U.S. Ambassador to Israel Michael Oren, who said this week, “One, two, three, four years are a long time in the Middle East — look what’s happened in the last year,” a reference to the so-called Arab Spring that led to regime changes in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya.
The U.S. has urged Netanyahu not to conduct a military strike against Iran, preferring that all diplomatic options be exhausted first. One reason is that Washington feels that Israel couldn’t take out Iran’s entire nuclear program by itself.
However, Netanyahu’s recent statements, as reported by The Jerusalem Post, seem to suggest that he doesn’t care about a total annihilation of Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Ralph Ellis, Ben Wedeman and Michael Pearson, CNN
Holly Yan and Yoko Wakatsuki, CNN Newswire