Only the convincing threat of military action headed by the United States will persuade Iran to drop plans to build an atomic bomb, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told foreign journalists, although the latest round of international sanctions were hurting Iran, they would not be enough to force a u-turn on nuclear weapons.
“Those sanctions have not yet achieved their objective, I think they [the sanctions] should be strictly enforced and materially strengthened.”
"There is no question that all these things have caused hardship but they have not in any way altered Iran's determination to pursue its nuclear program. They are determined to move ahead despite every difficulty, every obstacle, every setback, to create nuclear weapons".
“The only chance these sanctions will achieve their objectives would be to couple them with an understanding from Iran that if they [the sanctions] don’t achieve their goal, they would be followed by a credible military option.”
"You have to ratchet up the pressure and ... I don't think that this pressure will be sufficient to have this regime change course without a credible military option that is put before them by the international community led by the United States."
Netanyahu stepped back from former Mossad head Meir Dagan’s appraisal that Iran will not get nuclear weapons until 2015:
"I think that intelligence estimates are exactly that, they are estimates. They range from best case to worst case possibilities ... so I think there is room for some differing assessments".
Netanyahu said that the only time the Iranians halted their nuclear program over the last 15 years was in 2003, after the US invasion of Iraq, when they feared American military action. The diplomatic process with the Palestinians would be halted, and the vital interests of almost every Arab government in the region would be threatened, were the Iranian nuclear program not stopped, he said.