Israeli MK: Decision on Iran Will Come No Later Than Early 2014
An influential Israeli Knesset Member said Thursday that Israel will make a decision on whether or not to strike Iran’s nuclear weapons facility by the end of the year, and no later than early 2014.
Speaking at the Washington Institute, MK Tzachi Hanegbi said, “We are close to the moment where the central players will need to make a decision.” Hanegbi, who was attending an annual conference hosted by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, added”We are getting closer and closer to the point of no return where Iran will have enough enriched uranium to produce the bomb. The debate over whether or not they’ve already crossed the red line is not very important because decisions should be made this year, no later than the beginning of 2014,” according to Israel Hayom.
Hanegbi is considered a close confidant of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Hanegbi praised U.S. President Barack Obama, telling the audience that under his administration, the international community has unified to impose the harshest sanctions ever levied against one country, but that there was “no sign that the economic hardships are translating into a diplomatic change for the Iranian regime.”
Hanegbi also addressed what some view as an event that will offer a possible shift in Iran’s nuclear policy: the country’s upcoming elections.
“Some analysts believe that the identity of the next Iranian president will influence their nuclear policy. I believe that this is naive. In Iran, strategy is determined by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. And he is not going anywhere on June 14 [the date of the Iranian presidential elections]. Khamenei has had many opportunities to reach a reasonable settlement. Up until now there is no indication that Iran is considering any compromise. The Iranian resolve to attain the ultimate weapon of mass destruction has not been curtailed.
“If the only options left on the table are containment or use of force, should Israel place its fate in the hands of the United States? Can Israel be assured that its closest ally will act in due time to remove the nuclear threat? My answer is no. Such assurance can be given by no president and can be demanded by no prime minister. Israel does not and should not expect such a commitment. Israel’s bond with the United States is unbreakable. The threat posed to our nations by a nuclear Iran is mutual, but at the end of the day we are each beholden to our own national security policies and priorities,” Hanegbi said, adding that Israel’s future cannot be dependent on others, “even not our best allies.”
“We wouldn’t be able to survive without the money, help and military assistance, without the backing at the U.N., without the planes and the bombs and the tanks and everything that we get [from America]. But still, we don’t want anyone to spill his blood for us. If we will have to confront Iran it should be our mission and our responsibility,” Hanegbi added.