- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that time is running out to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, and suggested that Israel is prepared to take military action if necessary.

In a speech before the annual gathering of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Mr. Netanyahu said “containment is definitely not an option,” and he lambasted those who have called for such a policy.

“There’s been plenty of talk recently about the costs of stopping Iran,” he said. “I think it’s time to talk about the costs of not stopping Iran.”

The Israeli leader said that nuclear weapons would embolden Iran and its terrorist proxies to strike Israel and the United States with impunity.

Mr. Netanyahu also argued that Iran’s acquisition of atomic weapons “would set off a mad dash by Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt and others to acquire nuclear weapons of their own.”

He addressed AIPAC the day after President Obama spoke from the same lectern and just hours after the two met at the White House to discuss the Iranian threat.

According to the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, Mr. Obama told Mr. Netanyahu that he had “no intention of trying to contain the Iranian issue” and was “not taking any options off the table, including a military option,” echoing language he used in his own AIPAC speech.

Mr. Obama told AIPAC attendees Sunday that he believed there was still a window for diplomacy and sanctions to work. But Mr. Netanyahu seemed to disagree in his AIPAC speech.

“For the last decade, the international community has tried diplomacy,” he said. “It hasn’t worked. For six years, the international community has applied sanctions. That hasn’t worked either.”

Mr. Netanyahu said Israel has “waited patiently for the international community to resolve this issue” and that “none of us can afford to wait much longer.”

According to Ha’aretz, Mr. Netanyahu told the president in their White House meeting that he had made no decision yet on whether to strike Iran.

But in his speech Monday, Mr. Netanyahu said he would never let Israelis “live under the shadow of annihilation.”

“Responsible leaders should not bet the security of their countries on the belief that the world’s most dangerous regime won’t use the world’s most dangerous weapons,” he said. “And I promise you that as prime minister, I will never gamble with the security of Israel.”