From Ynet News, 1/4/09, by Yitzhak Benhorin:
In an interview conducted shortly before he is sworn in, new prime minister says Iranian nukes are a global threat, Israel expects Obama administration to stop Tehran from acquiring atomic bomb. ...
.."The Obama presidency has two great missions: Fixing the economy, and preventing Iran from gaining nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu stated, referring to the Iranian threat as a “hinge of history” and adding that “Western civilization” will have failed if Iran is allowed to develop nuclear weapons. .... "You don’t want a messianic apocalyptic cult controlling atomic bombs," he said.
According to Netanyahu, the Islamic republic threatens many other countries apart from Israel, and so his mission over the next several months is to convince the world of the broad danger posed by Iran.
Netanyahu, who clarified he would manage Israel’s relationship with Washington personally, addressed Barack Obama's softened approach towards Iran, saying he would support the US president's decision to engage Iran, as long as negotiations brought about a quick end to Iran’s nuclear ambitions. “How you achieve this goal is less important than achieving it,” he said, but he added that he was skeptical that Iran would respond positively to Obama’s appeals.
The new prime minister explained that he believes economic pressure could yield positive results. “I think the Iranian economy is very weak, which makes Iran susceptible to sanctions that can be ratcheted up by a variety of means.”
...Some of the prime minister's advisors, who were also interviewed, said they believe Iran’s defenses remain penetrable, and that Israel would not necessarily need American approval to launch an attack. “The problem is not military capability, the problem is whether you have the stomach, the political will, to take action,” one of them said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
...Asked if he could foresee agreeing on a “grand bargain” with Obama, in which he would move forward on talks with the Palestinians in exchange for a robust American response to Iran’s nuclear program, the prime minister said, “We intend to move on the Palestinian track independent of what happens with Iran, and I hope the US moves to stop Iran from gaining nuclear weapons regardless of what happens on the Palestinian track.”