Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned on Wednesday that Iran’s drive to achieve nuclear weapons has not only not slowed down, but, in fact, has even increased.
Speaking during a meeting with a delegation of pro-Israel activists headed by U.S. Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Netanyahu said, "I know that some place their hopes on Iran's new president. He knows how to exploit this and yesterday he called for more talks. Of course he wants more talks. He wants to talk and talk and talk. And while everybody is busy talking to him, he'll be busy enriching uranium. The centrifuges will keep on spinning. This isn't a secret. The new Iranian president boasts that that is his strategy. He says, 'I talk and I smile and I enrich uranium'. This is unfortunately going on as we speak.”
Netanyahu added, “Iran's work and quest towards the achievement of atomic weapons not only continues, it continues unabated - it's actually accelerated. And they're also pursuing, as was recently reported, an alternative route to the enrichment of uranium, which is the plutogenic, the plutonium route, simultaneously. So the situation unhappily is not getting any better; it's actually getting worse. Iran is determined to get the bomb and we must be even more determined to prevent them from getting it."
On Tuesday, Iran’s new president Hassan Rouhani said that Iran was ready for "serious" talks on its nuclear program without delay and that U.S. calls for tougher sanctions showed a lack of understanding.
"As the president of the Islamic republic, I am announcing that there is the political will to solve this issue and also take into consideration the concerns of the other sides," he said.
"We are the people of interaction and talks, with seriousness and without wasting time, if the other sides are ready."
The United States responded to Rouhani by saying that his inauguration was a chance for Iran to move quickly to resolve concerns about its nuclear program, but stressed the U.S. wants to see actions from Tehran.
Wednesday’s meeting marked the second time in as many days that Netanyahu has discussed the Iranian nuclear drive with American officials.
On Tuesday, Netanyahu met with a delegation of 36 U.S. Congress members who are visiting Israel, and called for the pressure on Iran to increase.
“Iran's president said that pressure will not help to dissuade him from developing nuclear weapons. But we see that over the past two decades, the only thing that has helped has been pressure,” said Netanyahu.
“I have said it before, and I will say it again, because it's important that it be understood. If the pressure on Iran is lifted, it will go ahead with developing nuclear weapons,” he added.