With the crisis in Egypt receding from the media’s gaze (everything’s under control anyway, right?), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took to the airwaves on Sunday to remind American audiences that Iran’s nuclear program is still very much alive and remains within striking distance of the red line.
“They’re not there yet. They’re getting closer,” Netanyahu told Bob Schieffer, the host of the CBS News program. “They should be — they should understand that they are not going to be allowed to cross it.”
“I won’t wait until it’s too late” to act, the Israeli leader said, adding, “We have our eyes fixed on Iran. They have to know that we’re serious.”
For those who bit on the narrative that Iran’s President-Elect Hassan Rouhani is going to be a moderate–despite the fact that he was vetted as a candidate for the presidency by a shadowy council answering to Iran’s Supreme Leader–Netanyahu also sought to remind everyone (in a classic Bibi rhetorical flourish) that Rouhani is “a wolf in sheep’s clothing – smile and build a bomb,” unlike his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was a “wolf in wolf’s clothing.”
The timing of the interview also seems noteworthy because Netanyahu is changing course on the diplomatic front, following the naming of senior adviser Ron Dermer as Michael Oren’s successor as the Israeli ambassador to the United States. On Oren’s way out, he has sought to emphasize that the United States and Israel have enjoyed a strong relationship, especially with regard to strategy on Iran’s nuclear program.
“Tactically, our positions are much closer today than they were in 2009.” Oren said.
Watch Bibi doin’ work below.