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Netanyahu: Keep Up the Pressure on Iran

The only way to get Iran to abandon its nuclear program is to maintain the pressure on it, says Netanyahu.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 11/1/2013, 3:42 AM

Netanyahu at event marking 40 years since Yom Kippur War
Netanyahu at event marking 40 years since Yom Kippur War
Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that if the pressure on Iran continues, it will abandon its nuclear program.

However, Netanyahu warned in remarks during a state ceremony marking the 40th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, if the pressure on Iran stops, it will continue to freely enrich uranium.

"We are committed to stopping this threat, and if it is possible by peaceful means and diplomacy - good," he stated.

"I hear after each round of talks that the Iranian representatives say that the talks were ‘useful’... of course - useful to Iran,” said Netanyahu. “They continue to enrich and advance toward their goal. In order for the talks to be useful for the world, Iran should completely dismantle its nuclear program.”

Netanyahu said that the sanctions on Iran must continue, noting that “This pressure makes it difficult for Iran. They try to avoid it. If Syria had offered to rid itself of 20% of its chemical weapons, who would take it seriously?”

“If the pressure weakens, Iran will continue its effort to obtain nuclear weapons,” he said. “In any case we need to be prepared for any scenario at any time.”

The comments on Iran come after a recent meeting in Geneva between Iranian negotiators and representatives of the so-called P5+1 - the United States, China, Russia, France, Britain and Germany.

During the two-day session, Iran presented what it described as a breakthrough proposal that would include snap inspections of its atomic sites. The proposal was described by the White House as "useful".

In the wake of the meeting and the recent moderate statements by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, top Obama administration officials have been pushing U.S. lawmakers hard to hold off on new sanctions over Iran's nuclear program.

In the speech, Netanyahu also referred to the decision by the Diplomacy-Security Cabinet earlier on Thursday to transfer 2.75 billion shekels from the budget surplus to the defense establishment budget.

“40 years after the Yom Kippur War, the IDF is stronger than ever and we must ensure that it continues to be strong,” he said.

"The decision [to raise the defense budget] balances the needs of the army with the challenges it faces, as well as allows us to lead the economy responsibly, because there is no security without a growing economy,” added Netanyahu.