The Straits Times
www.straitstimes.com
Published on Dec 26, 2012
 

Netanyahu launches re-election bid centred on Iran

 
 

JERUSALEM (AFP) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday put Iran at the top of on his re-election campaign, pledging that halting Teheran's nuclear programme would be his first priority as premier.

"Who do (Israeli voters) think is the most suitable candidate to deal with the Iranian threat? With the missile threat? With the threat of terror?" he asked supporters in Jerusalem in a speech at the official launch of his campaign for January 22 polls.

"We still have a lot ahead of us," he said. "First and foremost we must stop Iran's nuclear programme, and the time for that is slipping away. That is my first mission as prime minister." Israel and Western powers accuse Iran of seeking to acquire a weapons capability under the guise of its nuclear energy programme. Iran denies the charge, saying its work is for peaceful purposes only.

At a speech before the UN's General Assembly in September, Mr Netanyahu warned that if Iran continued work at the current pace, it could have the necessary material for a first bomb by the summer of 2013.