Press Conference by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Prime Minister Gordon Brown (Excerpts)

August 25, 2009

. . .

PRIME MINISTER GORDON BROWN: We discussed and will continue to discuss Iran. I made it again absolutely clear to Prime Minister Netanyahu that we deplore recent comments from the Iranian regime about Israel. Such diatribe has no place in a civilized world. We also share Israel's concerns over Iranian ambitions to develop a nuclear weapon. The region and world have nothing to fear from a civilian nuclear program in Iran, but Iran's actions do not make their arguments convincing. Iran needs to cooperate with the international community. It should take up President Obama's unprecedented offer of engagement. Until then, the international community will continue to view Iranian ambitions with suspicion.

PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: We have common hopes and we have also common challenges and I discussed with the Prime Minister the need to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. It's clear such weapons would pose a great threat to Israel, to our region, to the world and I'd like to take the opportunity to commend the continued efforts of the British government to address this threat. There has been a clear voice that comes out of London and from other capitals as well recently and I think that we should expect all responsible members of the international community to show similar resolve.

QUESTION: With the Iranian problem, according to your intelligence how much time do you evaluate is left before Iran reaches the point of no return? And should all measures, if peaceful measures fail or lead to a dead end, do you think that inevitably eventually a military action will have to be taken against Iran if everything else fails?

PRIME MINISTER GORDON BROWN: As you know, I am not in the habit - and I am not going to break it today - of giving out the detailed intelligence advice that is given to us about matters as sensitive as nuclear weapons. But I do say to you that we recognize the threat that is posed by Iran. We recognise that if they make the decision to go for and to acquire nuclear, it is of profound significance for the rest of the world. We believe that Iran has a choice: they can work with the international community, gain access to civil nuclear power and take their rightful place as a peaceful and important partner in the world; or they can find themselves ostracised and excluded because of their decision to break the Non-Proliferation Treaty and to hide from the world what they are doing to build up nuclear-weapon power.

I hope Iran will make the right decision. I believe President Obama has offered Iran a way forward for this, but I also believe that we have to leave open every option in our dealings with Iran and at the same time, if there is no further progress immediately, I believe the world will have to look at stepping up sanctions against Iran as a matter of priority.

PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: Time is running out. It is late in the day, but it is not too late. If there is a firm resolve by the international community to apply crippling sanctions - to borrow a phrase from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton - then I think this regime will have to make a very difficult decision about its future course. I think it is susceptible to these pressures.

I think what has been revealed in the recent dramatic events of the Iranian election is that this regime does not enjoy the support of the Iranian people. It is far weaker than meets the eye, and if the resolve of the responsible members of the international community is strong and firm, then however late the hour the future can be secured. This is our preference. I think that the stronger those actions and those sanctions are today, the less need there will be for stronger actions tomorrow.

. . .