Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is beating the war drums, warning that Iran will develop a nuclear arsenal to devastating effect if Western nations do not prevent it from doing so now.

“However forceful our statements, they have not convinced Iran that we are serious about stopping them. Right now the Iranian regime believes that the international community does not have the will to stop its nuclear program,” Netanyahu said at a news conference in Jerusalem with U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Wednesday.

Panetta responded with equal conviction in an attempt to reassure Israel of its alliance with the United States.

“We will not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon, period,” Panetta said. “We will not allow them to develop a nuclear weapon, and we will exert all options in the effort to ensure that that does not happen.”

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

The Guardian:

Panetta is the fourth senior US administration official to visit Israel in recent weeks as concern has mounted in Washington that Netanyahu is preparing the ground for a military strike in the coming months.

… The question of whether Israel will unilaterally strike against Iran’s nuclear sites in the coming months has returned to the fore after a period of relatively dampened speculation. There have also been fresh reports of a split between the Israeli political and security establishments over the merits of early unilateral action, following open opposition to such a move from former security chiefs.

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