Netanyahu criticizes ‘no sense of urgency’ on nuclear Iran

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in an interview with CBS News airing Sunday, said the international community and the United States have "no sense of urgency" when it comes to Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Netanyahu suggested the various conflicts in the Middle East have diverted the West's attention and allowed Iran to move forward with pursuing a bomb.

"I have a sense that there's no sense of urgency ... on Iran," Netanyahu told CBS's "Face the Nation," according to an advance transcript. "And yet Iran is the most important, the most urgent matter of all.

"Because all the problems that we have, however important, will be dwarfed by this messianic, apocalyptic, extreme regime that would have atomic bombs. It would make a terrible, catastrophic change for the world and for the United States."

Netanyahu didn't place the blame squarely on the United States, speaking broadly about the entire international community, but his comments suggest frustration with the lack of action.

"You know, our clocks are ticking at a different pace," Netanyahu said. "We're closer than the United States. We're more vulnerable. And therefore, we'll have to address this question of how to stop Iran, perhaps before the United States does."

Netanyahu also criticized new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, whom the United States has expressed optimism about as a more moderate alternative to former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

"He's criticizing his predecessor for being a wolf in wolf's clothing," Netanyahu said. "His strategy is be a wolf in sheep's clothing, smile and build a bomb."

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Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) responds to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's statements 

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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Aaron Blake · July 13, 2013