In an interview with “Meet the Press,” Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu said that Iran’s leaders were guided by “unbelievable fanaticism” and warned American policymakers that containment would not work against a nuclear-armed Tehran.
The interview on NBC is scheduled to air on Sunday. Netanyahu firmly dismissed suggestions that a nuclear Iran would behave as the Soviet Union did during the Cold War.
“I think Iran is very different. They put their zealotry above their survival, there are suicide bombers all over the place,” said Netanyahu.
“I wouldn’t rely on their rationality,” he continued. “Since the advent of nuclear weapons, you have countries that had access to nuclear weapons that always made a careful calculation of cost and benefit. But Iran is guided by a leadership with an unbelievable fanaticism.”
“It’s the same fanaticism that you see storming your embassies today,” Netanyahu added, in reference to the wave of violent protests rocking American embassies in the Muslim world. “You want these fanatics to have nuclear weapons?”
He went on to comment that if anyone thought Iran having nuclear capability would work to stabilize the Middle East, that they would set a “new standard for human stupidity.” Netanyahu’s comments come in the wake of reported friction between the US and Israel over Iran.
The prime minister escalated his criticism of the Obama administration’s Iran policy on Tuesday; blasting the White House for declining to clarify the “red line” they would not allow Iran to cross in its nuclear program.
“Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel,” he said at a press conference.
Netanyahu’s interview comes after a tense week between Israel and the United States.
That incident was followed by accusations that Obama had snubbed Netanyahu’s requests for a meeting later this month, when he visits the U.S.
The White House disagree with reports that Obama had denied a request for a meeting, but he president phoned Netanyahu on Tuesday to soothe tensions and to discuss their approach to Iran, according to a readout of the call.
GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and many congressional Republicans have charged the administration with being a weak ally to Israel and of not forcefully dissuading Iran from its nuclear program.
The White House, though, says it is committed to allowing sanctions against Tehran to work.
“We believe that there remains time and space for [sanctions and diplomacy] to bear fruit,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney on Monday.
Netanyahu, though, has remained a vocal public critic of the White House over Iran policy.
US President Barack Obama told 1,200 American rabbis Friday via a conference call that he was not willing to imposea “set of conditions” on how he would handle Iran – according to participants on the call.
On Friday, Iranian President Ahmadinejad also commented upon the US-Israel relationship, stating that US decision-makers have already come to the understanding that the Zionist regime is “no longer beneficial to them.”
He added that the Zionists are seeking new ways to “disturb the game,” Iranian state-run Fars News Agency reported.
Contributor D. Chandler