Netanyahu Says Iran Nuclear Program to End If Re-Elected

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who faces national elections in January, said the Iranian nuclear program would cease to exist by the end of his next term, should he be re-elected

“The responsibility, in the end, is that of the prime minister,” Netanyahu said when asked if Israel could decide to strike Iran even if the military chief of staff opposed such a move.

The prime minister was interviewed following the airing of a investigative news report that said Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak asked the military at a specific meeting in 2010 to prepare a strike on Iran’s nuclear program.

Israel’s military and foreign intelligence service heads opposed the order, expressing doubts over their preparedness and the effectiveness of the strike, according to Channel 2. Netanyahu declined to comment on the details of that report.

Netanyahu has said that Iran’s nuclear program poses an existential threat to Israel and that “all options are on the table.” Iranian leaders say the program is intended only for civilian use, and have refused to curtail the activities despite international economic sanctions.

The Israeli leader said that the point of his increasing pressure to stop the Iranian nuclear program is “to show the world powers that Israel is serious and that this isn’t just for show.”

Netanyahu called early elections last month and the poll has been set for Jan. 22.

To contact the reporters on this story: Alisa Odenheimer in Jerusalem at aodenheimer@bloomberg.net; Gwen Ackerman in Jerusalem at gackerman@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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