“The timeline, from our perspective, includes the question of how long it takes to enrich, and then how long it would take to go from a certain level of enrichment to weapons grade, and other steps in that process,” Miller said. “And so, as we look at that potential timeline we certainly believe, as I said, that we have time.”
Netanyahu has been publicly pressuring the Obama administration to set so-called “red lines” that would trigger an American military response to Iran’s growing nuclear program. And the prime minister kicked his campaign into overdrive after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s publicly rebuked his request. “Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel,” Netanyahu said last week in response to Clinton. And after President Obama rebuffed him on Iran red lines last week, Netanyahu took his case to the Sunday political talk shows here in the U.S.
It turns out that Netanyahu’s campaign isn’t having a lasting impression on Israelis either. The Wall Street Journal reports that a plurality of Israelis polled (41 percent verses 39 percent — and 20 percent who “don’t know”) in a new survey said their prime minister is mishandling relations with the United States on the issue of Iran’s nuclear program.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has echoed Miller, saying last week that the United States would know if Iran decides to push for a nuclear weapon and in that case, there would be time for an appropriate response. The Obama administration has said that it takes no option off the table in its effort to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, including military force.
But also, the Obama administration has repeatedly said that the United States is committed to Israel’s security, evidenced in economic, diplomatic and military assistance. Indeed, Israel’s leaders, including Netanyahu himself, have said this publicly. “President Obama spoke about his ironclad commitment to Israel’s security,” Netanyahu said last year. “He rightly said that our security cooperation is unprecedented.” Israel’s president and defense minister have echoed that sentiment, as recently as July.
“To fully appreciate the audacity of Netanyahu’s demand for still more open-ended American security assurances,” Notre Dame fellow and professor of political science Michael C. Desch said in Foreign Affairs this week referring to Netanyahu’s “red lines” campaign, “it is crucial to recognize just how committed to Israel’s security the United States already is.”
President Obama has said that he won’t allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon. The Obama administration is aware, not only of the threat an Iranian nuclear weapon poses, but also the potential negative consequences of a military attack on Iran, such as those outlined in a new bipartisan expert report released last week. And that, coupled with U.N., U.S. and Israeli assessments that Iran has not yet decided on whether to build a nuclear weapon, leads the administration, as Miler told Foreign Policy, to pursue a diplomatic solution with Iran, a track the it deems the “best and most permanent way” to solve the nuclear crisis.