(Binyamin Netanyahu is a leading Israeli conservative and member of the Knesset)
To Netanyahu, the rise of Iran's extremist regime is the defining geopolitical event of our times; the whole world, not just Israel, is in its sights. Dealing with Tehran is therefore the West's greatest challenge; he is scathing about many Europeans' refusal to recognise the Iranian regime's imperialistic and murderous ambitions. But to my great surprise he is absolutely convinced that America will soon step in, one way or the other, to prevent Tehran from going nuclear, and that this will happen at some point during the remaining two years and three months of the Bush presidency.
`When President Bush said that he will not let Iran develop nuclear weapons, I take him at his word,' he said, quietly. `How he plans to do it of course is up to him. The fact is that the President of the US said that he - he - would not let Iran develop nuclear weapons. That places first a clear goal. It doesn't define the means, and as you know there is a United Nations resolution, but it does define a time-limit for the achievement of that goal. The timeframe is a logical inference. I take him at his word. Why doubt it?'...
I pressed Netanyahu further, asking him whether he thought it would be feasible for the US to take out Iran's nuclear capabilities by force, given that their nuclear research programme is spread across Iran and buried in bunkers deep underground. But Netanyahu simply shrugged. `Just listen to Bush. He obviously thinks he has some combination of means: diplomatic, military, whatever.'
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