Netanyahu to Panetta: Iran Is Not Convinced West Is Serious About Stopping Its Nuclear Program

Prime Minister Netanyahu says sanctions, diplomacy have had no impact on nuclear weapons program; Panetta: We will not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon, period.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday that U.S. statements of solidarity with Israel and its assurances that military strikes are still an option aren't working to convince Iran that the West is "serious about stopping" the Islamic republic from developing nuclear weapons.

Standing with the U.S. defense secretary, who is on an official visit to Israel, Netanyahu said, "Neither sanctions nor diplomacy have yet had any impact on Iran’s nuclear weapons program."

"America and Israel have also made clear that all options are on the table. You yourself said a few months ago that when all else fails, America will act. But these declarations have also not yet convinced the Iranians to stop their program," he added.

"However forceful our statements, they have not convinced Iran that we are serious about stopping them. Right now the Iranian regime believes that the international community does not have the will to stop its nuclear program. This must change and it must change quickly, because time to resolve this issue peacefully is running out," the prime minster said.

Panetta responded that, "We will not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon, period. We will not allow them to develop a nuclear weapon, and we will exert all options in the effort to ensure that that does not happen."

"Make no mistake, we will remain determined to prevent Iran from ever acquiring a nuclear weapon," he added.

Panetta warned earlier on Wednesday on a visit to Iron Dome anti-missile defense system in Ashkelon, that the United States is prepared to implement 'other options' if Iran continues to work toward attaining nuclear weapons.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and U.S. Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta give a joint press conference at the prime minister office in Jerusalem on August 01, 2012. Credit: AFP

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