A New York Times editorial slammed persistent talk by Israeli leaders of possible military action against Iran as being “at best, mischievous and, at worst, irresponsible.”

The Monday editorial also said that a move by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to attack in the next few weeks, because President Barack Obama would have to support the decision in order to avoid damage to his reelection campaign, would be “outrageously cynical.”

Headlined simply “Israel and Iran,” the editorial acknowledged that “Iran’s nuclear ambitions are clearly dangerous to the region.” But it said there was “no proof that Iran is at the point of producing a weapon.”

It argued that military action “is no quick fix. Even a sustained air campaign would likely set Iran’s nuclear program back only by a few years and would rally tremendous sympathy for Iran both at home and abroad. The current international consensus for sanctions, and the punishments, would evaporate. It would shift international outrage against Mr. Assad’s brutality in Syria to Israel.”

While diplomacy and sanctions might not ultimately persuade Iran to abandon its nuclear drive, the paper said, “the talks have been under way only since April, and the toughest sanctions just took effect in July.”

Therefore, the editorial concluded, “there is still time for intensified diplomacy. It would be best served if the major powers stay united and Israeli leaders temper loose talk of war.”