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September 16, 2012 1:57 pm

Panetta: Israel Uses Red Lines ‘to Put People in a Corner’

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Panetta and Netanyahu exchange warm greetings. Photo: Screenshot.

Against the backdrop of mounting tensions between Israel and the U.S. over Iran’s controversial nuclear program, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta rejected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s calls to set “clear red lines,” telling Foreign Policy magazine that red lines were “the kind of political arguments that are used to try to put people in a corner.’

Earlier this month, Netanyahu urged the American administration to set clear red lines beyond which the U.S. would commit to take military action to stop Iran’s nuclear progress. Netanyahu called the Iranian leadership “a cruel regime that is barreling ahead with its nuclear program because it doesn’t see any clear red lines from the international community.”

“The fact is that presidents of the United States, prime ministers of Israel or any other country—leaders of these countries don’t have a bunch of little red lines that determine their decisions,” Panetta told Foreign Policy. “What they have are facts that are presented to them about what a country is up to, and then they weigh what kind of action is needed to be taken in order to deal with that situation. That’s the real world.”

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