Netanyahu to AIPAC conference: Iran 'running out the clock'

Click photo to download. Caption: Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, points to a bomb cartoon that illustrated his take on Iranian nuclear development when he addressed the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Credit: UN Photo/J Carrier.( WASHINGTON, DC—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday previewed his three-pronged agenda for President Barack Obama’s visit to the Jewish state later this month: Iran, Syria, and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

“[The visit] will give me an opportunity, along with the people of Israel, to express our appreciation for what [Obama] has done for Israel,” Netanyahu told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference through a live satellite message.

In Iran, “diplomacy has not worked,” Netanyahu said, providing a contrast to the earlier remarks of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who stressed that there remains “time and space” for diplomatic efforts.

“Iran has ignored all these offers,” Netanyahu said. “It is running out the clock.”

“Thus far, the sanctions have not stopped the nuclear program either,” the prime minister said, explaining that amid a struggling economy, Iranian leaders “just grit their teeth and move forward.”

Netanyahu said that to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, “we cannot allow Iran to cross that red line,” referencing his repeated request for a point which, if crossed by Iran, would prompt U.S. military action against the Islamic Republic.

“We have to stop its nuclear enrichment program before it’s too late,” Netanyahu said.

“Words alone will not stop Iran,” he added. “Sanctions alone will not stop Iran.” Sanctions must be coupled with a clear threat of a military option, according to the prime minister.

Regarding the peace process, Netanyahu said the U.S. and Israel have a “common quest” for  “a peace that will end our conflict once and for all,” but he stressed that peace must be “based in reality.”

“As Israel’s prime minister, I will never compromise on our security,” he said.

Netanyahu said that when the president visits Israel, he intends to show Obama “a different side” of the country, one that has “become a technological marvel” and is "teeming with innovation.”

Posted on March 4, 2013 .