Netanyahu: Chance of Conflict With Iran Depends on How Clearly 'Red Line' Is Drawn

French foreign minister warns Israel attack on Islamic Republic will be counter-productive as sanctions are beginning to take toll on regime.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that "the clearer the red line drawn before Iran by the international community, the smaller the chance of a conflict." At a meeting with Israeli and American war veterans, Netanyahu repeated his stance that the international community is not showing enough decisiveness or resolve vis-à-vis Iran's nuclear program.

Netanyahu's comments followed a report by the New York Times on Monday, according to which U.S. President Barack Obama is considering making declarations regarding the United States' "red lines" that if crossed, may bring about an American attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.

Earlier on Monday, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius warned Israel that a strike against Iran's nuclear facilities would be counter-productive.

"I'm absolutely hostile to Iran having nuclear weapons but I think that if there were an Israeli attack, unfortunately it could come back to haunt Israel by (allowing) Iran to cast itself as a victim," Fabius told France's BFM TV.

"We're saying we should increase sanctions and, at the same time, continue negotiating with Iran to make it give in," he said.

The United Nations, U.S. and European Union have already passed several rounds of sanctions on Iran over its uranium enrichment program. Fabius said the sanctions, which were expanded in July to include an EU oil embargo, were "starting to be effective."

According to the New York Times report published on Monday, Obama is mulling a series of overt and covert actions with the goal of helping Israel save face and convince Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to hold off on an attack on Iran's nuclear program.

The New York Times article, written by two of the paper's senior correspondents Eric Schmitt and David E. Sanger, reported that the White House is currently holding an internal debate on how specific the public warning to Iran should be.

Also on Monday, Farzad Esmaili, commander of the Iranian air force, said that the Islamic Republic has built about 30 percent of a missile defense system it is developing in place of the Russian S-300 system Moscow refused to sell it, and hopes to complete the system by next year.

Esmaili also reiterated that Iran will hold a large-scale air defense exercise in the next two months covering the whole country, the Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA) reported.

Benjamin Netanyahu arrives to the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, September 2, 2012. Credit: Reuters

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