Israeli PM 'Agreed' to Wait for Sanctions to Work

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed to allow more time for economic sanctions against Iran to take their toll, The New York Times reported Thursday.

According to the Times, a top White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said President Obama convinced Netanyahu to give the sanctions more time.

That agreement reportedly prompted the president's remark during a recent interview with NBC News.

"I don't think that Israel has made a decision on what they need to do," Obama said, adding that the U.S. and Israel were working closely to resolve the situation "diplomatically." 

"They [the Iranians] are feeling the pinch. They are feeling the pressure," the president said.

But with the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran looming closer everyday, Israel is diligently preparing for the possibility of war.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak recently referred to Iran's "immunity zone," intimating time limits for a successful strike on Iran's underground uranium enrichment facilities.

The Times said Barak's remarks "set off an intense debate" in the Obama administration, with one top official saying the White House is "frustrated" with Israel's "narrow view of the Iranian issue."

One official reportedly told the paper "there are many other options to slow Iran's march toward a completed weapon, like shutting off Iran's oil revenues, taking out facilities that supply centrifuge parts, or singling out installations where the Iranians would turn fuel into a weapon."

Despite the rhetoric, Iranian leaders continue to threaten both Israel and the U.S.

In a televised speech last Friday marking the anniversary of the 1979 Iranian revolution, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said sanctions would benefit his country, making it more "self-reliant."

"Sanctions will not have any impact on our determination to continue our nuclear course," Khamenei said. "We would not achieve military progress if sanctions were not imposed on Iran's military sector."

Iran had its "own threats to impose at the right time," he said, warning that "any military strike is ten times more harmful for America."

"Americans say all options are on the table, even the option of military strike…Such threats show that America has no way but using force and bloodshed to achieve its goals, which further harms America's rulers, international and domestic credibility," Khamenei said.

Meanwhile, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman met with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Tuesday in Washington to discuss Iran's march toward nuclear armament.

Lieberman told Army Radio Wednesday that Iran appears determined to forge ahead with its nuclear arms program despite the sanctions.

"Will it [sanctions] be enough to stop the Iranian nuclear program? There is no indication of that yet," Lieberman said. "They are determined and are forging ahead with the program despite sanctions."

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Tzippe Barrow

Tzippe Barrow

CBN News Internet Producer - Jerusalem

From her perch high atop the mountains surrounding Jerusalem, Tzippe Barrow helps provide a bird’s eye view of events unfolding in her country.

She and her husband made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) several years ago. Barrow hopes that providing a biblical perspective of today’s events in Israel will help people in the nations to better understand the centrality of this state and the Jewish people to God’s unfolding plan of redemption for all mankind.