Netanyahu says Iran remarks unconnected to U.S. elections

(JTA) — Benjamin Netanyahu said his perceived criticism of the White House policy on Iran did not constitute interference in the U.S. presidential elections.

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In an interview with The Jerusalem Post, the Israeli premier said: “It has nothing to do” with the Nov. 6 elections, “because the Iranian nuclear program doesn’t care about the American political calendar.”

On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) wrote an open letter to Netanyahu expressing her “disappointment” over “remarks that call into question our country’s support for Israel and commitment to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.” The letter cam a day after Netanyahu decried a lack of clarity from the “international community” — seen in Israel as code for the Obama administration — for failing to make clear what would trigger a U.S. strike on Iran as that country reportedly nears obtaining a nuclear weapon.

In the interview with the Post, Netanyahu also said that “the Iranian nuclear program proceeds unabated.”

“If the centrifuges stop miraculously, if they stop preparing enriched uranium to make atomic bombs, then I suppose I wouldn’t have to speak out,” Netanyahu said. He added: “For me this is a policy issue, a security issue, and not a political issue.”

Netanyahu characterized his post-midnight telephone call Wednesday with Obama as a “good conveation.”

“We spoke about our common goal of stopping Iran from developing its nuclear weapons program, and our desire to closely coordinate our efforts,” he said.

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