(WASHINGTON) — As much as President Obama sounded pessimistic about forcing Iran to give up its entire nuclear activities, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seemed overly confident on Sunday that it won’t take much to convince Tehran that it has no choice but to abandon its vaunted program.
Speaking at the annual Saban Forum in Washington, D.C., as Obama did before him on Saturday, Netanyahu, an ardent foe of the latest international effort to get Iran to scale back its nuclear program, says all it will take is more crushing economic sanctions and the threat of military force for Tehran to finally give up its pursuit of atomic weapons.
Netanyahu seems determined to undercut the arrangement set up by the U.S. and five other superpowers to freeze key parts of Tehran’s nuclear program in return for temporary relief of economic sanctions. There are reports of him ordering Israeli spy agencies to find any “smoking gun” to prove that Iran is cheating on the deal.
Under the six-month agreement, Iran is required to halt much of its program and roll back certain elements, including halting enrichment above 5 percent and neutralizing its stockpile of uranium.
However, the Israeli prime minister contends that Iran is already getting the better of the bargain because in addition to not having to stop uranium enrichment, Iran’s economy has already “markedly approved,” according to its president, Hassan Rouhani.
As for taking unilateral military action to ensure that Iran can never threat Israel with nuclear weapons, Netanyahu vowed, “I will do what it takes to protect the Jewish state and the future of the Jewish people.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Paul Cruickshank and Michael Pearson, CNN