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Netanyahu Denies Meddling in US election

Netanyahu denies he is interfering in the US presidential vote by pushing Obama to take a tougher stand on Iran.
First Publish: 9/14/2012, 12:42 PM

Binyamin Netanyahu
Binyamin Netanyahu
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has denied accusations he is interfering in the US presidential vote by pushing President Barack Obama to take a tougher stand on Iran's nuclear program, AFP reports.
 
In newspaper interviews published on Friday ahead of the Jewish new year, Netanyahu dismissed accusations that he is trying to paint Obama as weak on Iran in order to boost support for Republican candidate Mitt Romney.

"That's nonsense," he told the Yisrael Hayom daily. "The issue that guides me is not the elections in the United States but the centrifuges in Iran. What can we do if the centrifuges in Iran pay no attention to the political timetable in the United States?

"It has nothing to do with the American elections," he said in an interview with the Jerusalem Post newspaper. "If the centrifuges stop miraculously, if they stop preparing enriched uranium to make atomic bombs, then I suppose I wouldn't have to speak out.

"For me this is a policy issue, a security issue, and not a political issue," he said.

Opposition leader MK Shaul Mofaz on Wednesday said that Netanyahu's pursuit of a very public dispute with Obama over Iran was an attempt to sway voters against the US leader in the November election.

"Israeli meddling in internal US affairs and turning the US administration from an ally to 'an enemy' has caused us severe damage," Mofaz charged during a Knesset session.

"Please explain to us: who is Israel's greatest enemy -- the US or Iran? Who do you fear more -- (Iranian President Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad or Obama? Which regime is more important to overthrow -- the one in Washington, or in Tehran?" he asked.

Israel has said a nuclear-armed Iran would pose an existential threat to the Jewish state and has threatened unilateral military action against Tehran.

But Washington backs continued diplomatic pressure and says it is not the time for a strike.