Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel, appeared on NBC News’ “Meet the Press" on Sunday to discuss the nuclear threat of Iran.
David Gregory, moderator of “Meet the Press” asked Netanyahu why talks between Western powers and Iran could not necessarily be seen as progress.
“The question is not of hope, the question is of actual results, and the [2005 nuclear test] is the result. The result has to be the full dismantling of Iran’s nuclear program. If that’s achieved, that’s good. If it’s achieved peacefully, even better,” Netanyahu said in response.
Gregory then asked Netanyahu whether or not the United States is ready to ease sanctions on Iran before enough steps are taken to dismantle the Iranian nuclear program, referring to a New York Times headline about the topic.
“I think the pressure has to be maintained on Iran, even increased on Iran, until it actually stops the nuclear program, that is dismantles it. I think that any partial deal could end up dissolving the sanctions. There are a lot of countries just waiting for a signal to get rid of their sanctions regime,” Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu cited the dismantling of Syria’s chemical weapons as an example of why a partial deal wouldn’t work.
“[Iran’s] assets were frozen for three reasons: One, Iran’s terrorist actions; two, its aggressive actions, particularly in the Gulf; and three, its continued refusal to stop the production of weapons of mass production -- mass destruction. You know, if you get all three done and they stop doing it, well then I suppose you could unfreeze them,” said Netanyahu.
Gregory then turned the discussion towards Syria, asking Netanyahu if he preferred to have Assad remain in power, considering the security of Israel and the surrounding region.
“I don’t think Assad is in power, I think Iran is in power, because basically Syria has become an Iranian protectorate. Iran’s henchmen, Hezbollah, are doing the fighting for Assad, for his army, to the extent he has an army,” Netanyahu said. He continued, “So understand that Syria is Iran and Iran is Syria as things have developed.”
“I think we want to end [the Syrian] tragedy. We want to end that in the best way that we don’t have an Iranian protectorate or a jihadist regime [in Syria],” Netanyahu added.
Watch Netanyahu’s responses on “Meet the Press” in the video above.