Having been stymied by the Obama administration in his call for “red lines” to be publicly drawn on stopping Iran’s nuclear drive, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took his case to the American public Sunday, comparing Tehran’s mindset to that of Muslim rioters attacking US embassies around the world in response to an anti-Islam film.
“Iran is guided by an unbelievable fanaticism,” he told NBC’s David Gregory. “It’s the same fanatics that you see storming your embassies today. You want these fanatics to have nuclear weapons?”
The prime minister recorded interviews with NBC’s “Meet the Press” and CNN’s “State of the Union” Saturday night, to air on Sunday morning US time. A snippet of the interview with NBC was posted online early Sunday morning.
Netanyahu, who has been engaged in a public tussle with the US over setting red lines for military action against Iran’s nuclear program, said the White House should not rely on Iran being a rational actor, as some officials have claimed Tehran is.
“They put their zealotry above their survival,” Netanyahu said. He added that people who believed a strike on Iran would destabilize the region more than a nuclear Iran “set a new standard for human stupidity.”
In February, the US’s top general, Martin Dempsey, said he believed Iran was a rational actor. He later added that the regime in Tehran was “a dangerous one.” Two weeks ago, Dempsey said he would not want to be “complicit” in an Israeli strike on Iran.