Washington: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared that he will never allow his people to live under constant threat of annihilation from a nuclear-armed Iran, saying "none of us can afford to wait much longer".
Addressing the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Netanyahu said Monday, Israel waited patiently for the international community to deal with the problem but so far it had failed, the Israel Project, a non profitable educational organisation, reported.
"We`ve waited for diplomacy to work; we`ve waited for sanctions to work. None of us can afford to wait much longer," Netanyahu said. "As Prime Minister of Israel, I will never let my people live in the shadow of annihilation."
The state of Israel reserved the right to act in its own defense at a time of its own choosing, Netanyahu said.
"It must always have the ability to defend itself, by itself against any threats," he said.
Laying out a detailed and powerful case why Iran should not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons, the Israeli leader said Tehran was the number one sponsor of state terrorism.
Netanyahu said its leaders had dispatched suicide bombers all around the world. Its proxies had attacked civilians in many countries with bombs, missiles and rockets. But Iran would be far more dangerous if it ever acquired a nuclear capability.
"A nuclear-armed Iran would dramatically increase terrorism by giving terrorists a nuclear umbrella. The terrorism we see today would grow ten fold, if not more," Netanyahu said.
Earlier, Netanyahu met Obama at the White House for what had been billed as a crucial meeting. Obama has said he believes there is still a window for sanctions and diplomacy to work.
The New York Times reported Netanyahu telling Obama that Israel had not made a
decision on striking Iran.
But Netanyahu expressed deep scepticism that international pressure would persuade Iran`s leaders to forsake the development of nuclear weapons.