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McCain: Sanctions aren't deterring Iran

Sen. John McCain speaks to reporters in Washington July 31, 2011. UPI/Kevin Dietsch
Sen. John McCain speaks to reporters in Washington July 31, 2011. UPI/Kevin Dietsch | License Photo

WASHINGTON, March 5 (UPI) -- Sanctions aren't stopping Iran's nuclear aims and Israel shouldn't rely on President Obama's judgment in the matter, U.S. Sen. John McCain said.

McCain said he has praised the sanctions but they "have not deterred the Iranians from the path that they're on."

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Obama, during a conference call Sunday with the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, said the United States wouldn't just watch Iran build a nuclear weapon without some reaction, but urged more diplomacy first.

"I only use force when the time and circumstances demand it. Already, there is too much loose talk of war," Obama said.

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On "CBS This Morning" Monday, McCain, R-Ariz., said:

"[Suppose] that there was a country in our hemisphere that was dedicated to 'wiping us off the map,' they were developing a nuclear weapon, and at some point we didn't have the capability to remove that threat but we had to rely on another ally to do that for us. That's basically the situation that the Israelis may find themselves in."

The U.S. has been "surprised" in the past when Pakistan and North Korea acquired nuclear weapon technology, McCain said.

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"So what the president is asking the prime minister of Israel to do is to rely on his judgment as to when force may be necessary," McCain said.

Israel has said it would consider a military option against Iran before the Islamic republic's nuclear facilities become immune to a unilateral airstrike.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was expected to warn Obama during meetings Monday in Washington that Israel may take matters into its own hands unless the president pledges to use U.S. military forces to prevent the Islamic Republic from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

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McCain spoke of a deteriorating relationship between Israel and the United States since Obama "insisted on a settlement freeze as a pre-condition for talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians."

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