Netanyahu to Biden: Sanctions Are Not Stopping Iran's Nuclear Program

U.S. quick to rebuff PM's claim that only force can halt Tehran's designs on a bomb.

NEW ORLEANS - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told U.S. Vice President Joe Biden during their meeting in New Orleans on Sunday that sanctions have hurt Iran but are not stopping Iran's efforts to acquire nuclear weapons.

Netanyahu said that a credible threat of military action is the only way to ensure that Iran will rethink its nuclear program. According Israeli estimates, the only time that Iran paused its nuclear program was in 2003, when Iran believed there was a threat of military action.

Benjamin Netanyahu and Joe Biden Nov. 7, 2010 (GPO)
Government Press Office / Avi Ohayon

On the stalled peace talks with the Palestinians, Netanyahu told Biden that Israel has made enough efforts to reach a peace settlement and has not received sufficient gestures in return.

Speaking to the vice president before the Biden's address to the General Assembly of Jewish Federations, Netanyahu said that a peace agreement could not be reached from above and added that the Palestinians must be stopped from taking unilateral action at the United Nations in their quest to establish a state.

Netanyahu also told Biden that other Arab states must be brought into the peace process to give Israel the political backing needed.

Netanyahu met Biden before Biden's address to the GA. Netanyahu will deliver his speech to the forum on Monday, before his four-day visit to New York.

During the trip, he will not see President Barack Obama, who is on a visit to Asia. But the U.S. visit will give Netanyahu an opportunity to gauge the impact of last week's Republican rout of Obama's Democrats in the midterm congressional elections.

Netanyahu was scheduled to hold talks in New York with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday and Clinton on Thursday, before flying home.