Despite recent assessments from Israeli intelligence that Iran’s nuclear program has slowed down and that Iran won’t be able to produce a weapon before 2015, a fact confirmed by Secretary of State Clinton this week, Benjamin Netanyahu is still pushing for war:

“You have to ratchet up the pressure and…I don’t think that this pressure will be sufficient to have this regime change course without a credible military option that is put before them by the international community led by the United States.”

Various news accounts have reported that Netanyahu is upset with the remarks by top Israeli military and intelligence officials, including outgoing Mossad chief Meir Dagan, that have downplayed the Iranian threat. Like the 2007 US intelligence estimate, which happily short-circuited a push by Vice President Cheney and his allies to bomb Iran,  the recent Israeli intelligence comments have taken the wind of the sails of the hawks. Netanyahu, who’s build his entire reign around the idea of distracting Washington from the Palestine crisis by hyping the Iran threat, isn’t happy.

Netanyahu praised the sanctions effort against Iran, between he insisted that it’s not enough:

“There is no question that all these things have caused hardship but they have not in any way altered Iran’s determination to pursue its nuclear program. They are determined to move ahead despite every difficulty, every obstacle, every setback, to create nuclear weapons.”

Talks between the United States and Iran, along with other members of the so-called P5+1, resume January 20 in Turkey. Thanks to the Israeli comments, and echoes from Clinton, they’ll proceed under a much calmer atmosphere.

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