Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he is not aware that the United States is offering some Arab nations a "nuclear umbrella," as reported by a Saudi newspaper, but told "Face the Nation"
on Sunday that such reports, if true, are troubling.
The popular Arabic-language Saudi newspaper Al-Hayat made the claim last week
that Secretary of State John Kerry is letting Arab nations know that American protection from nuclear attack will be part of any nuclear deal with Iran.
Netanyahu said he doesn't know if the claim is true, but said that if it is, it means that Iran has a nuclear weapons program, which it denies.
"Otherwise, why offer presumably Gulf States … nuclear protection?" Netanyahu asked.
Also, he said, "if it's true it signals a shift of U.S. policy from preventing a nuclear Iran to containing one. That is not good."
Netanyahu has been warning the United States, currently involved in the P5+1 negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, that Iran is too close to being able to finish a nuclear warhead if it decides to take that route.
In his joint address to Congress last week, Netanyahu said Iran's nuclear program should be reduced in size and that the country should be placed in a position that it would take years, not months, to develop a weapon.
Critics of the Obama administration's talks say the plan would allow for a nuclear-armed Iran after 10 years. The White House has denied that, but Netanyahu was concerned that the Al Hayat report signaled that critics are right.
Netanyahu also responded to his own critics who say he has been crying wolf on Iran for the past 25 years, and they still haven't developed nuclear weapons capability.
"Well, the reason I've been warning for 25 years is because Iran has been trying to get to the bomb," he told host Bob Schieffer. "If we hadn't acted in these intervening years … Iran would have had the nuclear weapon a long time ago."
If Israel, the United States and its allies let their guard down now, Netanyahu said, Iran "will have the weapon."
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