By Rebecca Shabad - 03/04/14 11:06 AM EST
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday told Washington’s largest pro-Israel lobby that leaving Iran with the capability to enrich uranium would "open up Pandora’s box to nuclear proliferation."
Netanyahu issued the warning in a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) policy conference.
“Unfortunately, the leading powers of the world are talking about leaving Iran with the capability to enrich uranium. I hope they won’t do that. Because that would be a grave error,” he told 14,000 conference delegates.
The Obama administration, however, has said a final deal that includes “zero enrichment” capabilities would be unrealistic and rejected by Iran.
“Letting Iran enrich uranium would open up the floodgates, open up Pandora’s box to nuclear proliferation. That must not happen. We will make sure it will not happen,” said Netanyahu, who has previously threatened to use military force against Iran to protect Israel.
The threat of Iran developing a nuclear weapon, he said, will only be eliminated if Iran fully dismantles its nuclear capability.
Netanyahu said that outcome can be achieved “not by relieving pressure, but by adding pressure.”
“The greater the pressure on Iran and the more credible the threat of force on Iran, the smaller the chance that force would ever have to be used,” he said.
The White House has said it would hold off on adding tougher sanctions against Iran while the deal is in place, but will maintain existing sanctions.