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Iran's Not There Yet, Says U.S. Ambassador

U.S. ambassador to the UN joins those who have rejected Netanyahu’s request that the U.S. set a clear “red line” for Iran.
By Elad Benari, Canada
First Publish: 9/16/2012, 8:21 PM

Obama and Netanyahu
Obama and Netanyahu
Flash 90

U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice on Sunday joined the list of American officials who have rejected Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s request that the U.S. set a clear “red line” for Iran’s nuclear program.

“We’ve been very clear. The United States is not interested and is not pursuing a policy of containment. President Obama has been very plain: We will keep all options on the table, including the military option as necessary, to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon,” Rice told CNN’s "State of the Union", shortly after Netanyahu gave an interview to the same program.

“We share a grave concern about Iran pursuing a nuclear weapon,” she added. “We are determined to prevent that from happening. President Obama has been absolutely clear, and on this there's absolutely no daylight between the United States and Israel that we will do what it takes to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.”

Rice added, “We are not at that stage yet. They do not have a nuclear weapon. Our shared intelligence assessment is that there’s still considerable time and space before they will have a nuclear weapon should they make the decision to go for that.”

She said that steps the United States and other countries are taking to pressure Iran are working.

"We have just seen the imposition of another layer of the toughest sanctions that have ever been imposed on a country," Rice said, adding that Iran's oil production and currency have both plummeted 40%.

"And this is only going to intensify, so we think that there's still considerable time for this pressure to work, but this is not an infinite window," she clarified.

Before Rice, Netanyahu told the same program that there must be "red lines" on halting Iran's nuclear ambitions.

“They're moving very rapidly to completing the enrichment of the uranium that they need to produce a nuclear bomb. In six months or so they'll be 90 percent of the way there,” he said.

“It's important to place a red line before Iran, and I think that actually reduces the chance of military conflict, because if they know there's a point, a stage in their enrichment or other nuclear activities that they cannot cross because they'll face consequences, I think they will actually not cross it,” he added.

Obama rejected the idea of placing “red lines” for Iran during a phone conversation with Netanyahu last week. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta backed Obama on the weekend and said that red lines “are kind of political arguments that are used to try to put people in a corner.”

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Rosh Hashanah in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)