JERUSALEM, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday appeared to have ratcheted back his tone on how to deal with Iran's nuclear weapons program.
Netanyahu, who considers a nuclear-armed Iran as an threat to Israel, said the Islamic Republic was "racing ahead with its nuclear program, because it doesn't see a clear red line from the international community."
Talking with a group of Israeli and U.S. war veterans, Netanyahu said he "doesn't see the necessary resolve and determination from the international community. The greater the resolve and the clearer the red line, the less likely we'll have a conflict," Netanyahu said.
Dr. Ephraim Kam, of the Tel Aviv University, told Xinhua on Wednesday that Netanyahu hasn't changed his basic calculations and consideration with regard to Iran, and characterized the statement as change of tactics.
"Netanyahu is trying perhaps to lower the tension with the U.S. administration, on the one hand because it seems to me that he was seen as exaggerating and it's a very important interest to keep a decent level of coordination with the U.S. administration," Kam said.
In the last few weeks there have been a number signals from the United States that "now it's not the time to launch a strike on Iran's nuclear infrastructure," neither by them nor by Israel.
"So, altogether, he has some important considerations to lower the fire," Kam said. He noted that the tension between Netanyahu and the U.S. administration had gone too high, and that the Israeli prime minister realized that he needed to back down.
The Israeli news site Ynet reported unnamed officials in Jerusalem suggested that Netanyahu has realized that the tension and the public spat over the issue in the media weren't aiding his cause.
Dr. Nathan Aridan, of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, said that Netanyahu and the Israeli government are aware that the U.S. administration thinks that there is more time for diplomatic maneuvering.
"What's important for Netanyahu is that he wants to keep the pressure up; he basically wants to make sure that the pressure on Iran is maintained," Aridan said.
Aridan noted that U.S. President Barack Obama is unlikely to want to get involved in a major entanglement in the Middle East so close to the election.
While Netanyahu stressed the need for the international community to establish red lines for Iran, the difficulties of the task at hand is the failure of Netanyahu's own people, the security cabinet, to define them.
The security cabinet includes Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Defense Minister Ehud Barak as well as other ministers which are close to Netanyahu.
Ynet published a report Tuesday saying that the members of the security cabinet seemed to disagree on what condition should be met before declaring that Iran had crossed the nuclear threshold.
The "jury" is still out on whether or not Iran has taken a decision to assemble the parts into a nuclear weapon and how long this would take.
So while Israel might argue that a red line should be drawn at the time when all the parts are completed, the United States on the other hand could very well say that the redline should be drawn when Iran actually takes the decision.
But as Kam noted these discussions are kept behind closed doors and impossible to know how they are progressing or if they are being held at all.
JERUSALEM, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- Israeli President Shimon Peres on Wednesday accused Iran of working to extend its influence across the Middle East, saying that time was running out for diplomacy and sanctions to convince Tehran to disband its nuclear program.
Speaking at a meeting with visiting Italian Foreign Minister, Dr. Giulio Terzi, Peres said Iran "really wants" to become the dominant player in the region and is relying on its proxies to achieve that goal. Full story
WASHINGTON, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) -- The Obama administration is taking a range of steps short of war to force Iran to take more seriously negotiations over its disputed nuclear program, in hopes of forestalling an Israeli attack, a U.S. newspaper reported Monday.
These steps include planned naval exercises and new anti- missile systems in the Persian Gulf, and a more forceful clamping down on Iranian oil revenue, the New York Times reported in a front-page story. Full story