Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Israel PM Calls for U.S. Airwaves 'Red Line' on Iran Netanyahu Goes on Talk Shows to Warn of Nuclear Program

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Israel PM Calls for U.S. Airwaves 'Red Line' on Iran Netanyahu Goes on Talk Shows to Warn of Nuclear Program

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- Having been rebuffed by President Barack Obama last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel took to U.S. television on Sunday to make the argument that the only way to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon was to draw a "red line" that, if crossed, would trigger military intervention.

Mr. Netanyahu was criticized at home and abroad for similar remarks last week that were widely seen as an effort to put pressure on Mr. Obama to act more forcefully against Iran.

And yet, less than two months before Election Day, he turned to two prominent American talk shows, "Meet the Press" on NBC and "State of the Union" on CNN, to make his case even more urgently to a broader U.S. audience, arguing that Iran was six months away from having "90 percent" of what it needed to make a nuclear bomb.

"You know, they're in the last 20 yards, and you can't let them cross that goal line," Mr. Netanyahu said on "Meet the Press," displaying his familiarity with American football. "You can't let them score a touchdown, because that would have unbelievable consequences, grievous consequences for the peace and security of us all, of the world really."

Iran, which denies that it is pursuing nuclear weapons, added threats of its own Sunday, significantly increasing international tensions over its nuclear efforts. The commander of the powerful Revolutionary Guard, Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, took the unusual step of holding a news conference to warn that "nothing will remain" in Israel if it or the United States launches an attack against his country.

He said Iran and its allies -- presumably Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza -- would retaliate at Israel's borders, as would Iran itself in Israel and beyond, targeting U.S. military bases in the Persian Gulf and shutting down the Strait of Hormuz. Iran has often threatened to counter any attack, but the general's threats were unusually specific and signaled Iran's intent to turn an attack into a regional conflict.

"Our response to Israel is clear: I think nothing will remain of Israel," Gen. Jafari said, according to an account by The Associated Press. "Given Israel's small land area and its vulnerability to a massive volume of Iran's missiles, I don't think any spot in Israel will remain safe."

The warnings from both sides were made after a tumultuous and violent week in the Middle East that began with the storming of the U. …

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