By Amy Teibel | ABC
Israel’s leader suggested in an interview Thursday that he’ll keep publicly pressing the United States to get tougher on Iran, despite the strains his remarks have caused with the Obama administration.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks appear to have been aimed at rattling the U.S. into action for fear Israel might otherwise soon attack Iran on its own.
But his heightened rhetoric has raised tensions with the White House, and even prompted a leading Jewish U.S. senator to take the extraordinary step of publicly rebuking him.
Netanyahu has repeatedly warned that Iran is getting dangerously close to acquiring a nuclear bomb and has been lobbying Washington for weeks to spell out what conditions would touch off a U.S.-led attack on Iranian nuclear facilities.
In a thinly veiled swipe at the U.S., he said earlier this week that “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.”
But Washington, which insists it won’t let Iran become a nuclear power, has refused to be specific, despite Israel’s implicit threat to act unilaterally if the U.S. doesn’t take a tough public position.
The spat has become unusually public, prompting President Barack Obama to phone Netanyahu earlier this week and to follow up the call with a rare late-night White House statement denying reports of a rift. Netanyahu’s office has also the two men had a “good conversation.”