WASHINGTON, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Sunday that Iran would be on the brink of nuclear weapons capability in six to seven months, adding new urgency to his demand that President Barack Obama set a clear “red line” for Tehran in what could deepen the worst U.S.-Israeli rift in decades.
Taking his case to the American public, Netanyahu said in U.S. television interviews that by mid-2013, Iran would be 90 percent of the way toward enough enriched uranium for a bomb. He urged the United States to spell out limits that Tehran must not cross or else face military action - something Obama has refused to do.
“You have to place that red line before them now, before it’s too late,” Netanyahu told NBC’s “Meet the Press” program, saying that such a U.S. move could reduce the chances of having to attack Iran’s nuclear sites.
The unusually public dispute - coupled with Obama’s decision not to meet with Netanyahu later this month - has exposed a deep U.S.-Israeli divide and stepped up pressure on the U.S. leader in the final stretch of a tight presidential election campaign.