The Obama administration has rejected a request to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu aimed at providing Israeli leaders clarity on U.S. policy regarding Iran’s nuclear program.
While estimates on how quickly Iran will have a nuclear bomb ranges from weeks to a year, relations between Israel and the Obama administration are frayed.
Netanyahu asked to meet with Mr. Obama in the United States this month, an Israeli official said on Tuesday, but Obama reportedly will not make time for the prime minister this month, even as talk of war ramps up, according to a Reuters report.
Netanyahu met with Obama each time he visited the U.S. since 2009, and had recently pushed for Washington to define what, if anything, it would consider a red line Iran should not cross without expecting military consequences.
The Israeli leader believes Washington should layout a red line for Iran's uranium enrichment activities and impose tougher economic sanctions in order to stop Tehran from developing nuclear weapons.
Analysts say the growing tension between Iran and Israel could become a flashpoint for a global conflict that may or may not include detonation of nuclear weapons in the Middle East.
President Obama’s critics say he needs to be more engaged and creative in dealing with simmering tensions in the Middle East, particularly with Israel, a long-time U.S. ally.
To date, resolutions and sanctions have not deterred Iran from fulfilling its nuclear ambitions which many Western countries agree is building a nuclear bomb, or arsenal.
"The world tells Israel 'wait, there's still time'. And I say, 'Wait for what? Wait until when?'" said Netanyahu, speaking in English.
"Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don't have a moral right to place a red light before Israel," he added, addressing a news conference with Bulgaria's prime minister.
Recent Israeli rhetoric has analysts and political observers thinking that Israel is close to launching a preventive attack on Iran to degrade that country’s nuclear facilities before it has the ability to launch a nuclear attack on Israel.
Meanwhile, some say Obama, campaigning for a second term in a stalled economy with a tough U.S. election coming in November, would be forced to support Israel during any such conflict or risk alienating pro-Israeli voters.