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Israeli minister calls for deadline on Iran nukes

Aug. 22, 2013 at 6:40 AM   |   Comments

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JERUSALEM, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- An Israeli minister called on the international community to impose a deadline that, if crossed, will lead to the destruction of Iran's nuclear facilities.

While newly elected Iranian President Hasan Rouhani may offer minor goodwill steps to signal his willingness to compromise on the nuclear question, he is a "wolf in sheep's clothing," Strategic Affairs and Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said in an interview this week with The Times of Israel.

Promises by U.S. leaders they will not allow Iran to get an atomic bomb are insufficient, as are statements that "all options are on the table," he said. Either NATO or the United States must issue an explicit ultimatum with a deadline, he said.

Steinitz said he was unsure if the United States currently is willing to attack Iran's nuclear sites but is capable of doing it "relatively easily, or at least quickly and efficiently." He said he doubted Iran's response to such an attack would lead to a world war or regional war.

"I think Iran's possibilities to retaliate are very limited. It's also not in their interest to start a drawn-out war with the U.S. After all, their relations in the region are rather sensitive," he said.

Refusing to discuss a potential Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear sites, Steinitz rejected reports of Washington vetoing such an attack.

"Israel doesn't need a green light or a red light," he said.

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