(CBS News) Iran is getting "closer and closer to the bomb," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday on "Face the Nation," and in deciding whether to wage an attack on the nation aggressively pursuing nuclear capabilities, he added, "I won't wait until it's too late."
"They're edging up to the red line," Netanyahu said. "They haven't crossed it yet. They're also building faster centrifuges that would enable them to jump the line, so to speak, at a much faster rate - that is, within a few weeks."
Netanyahu said Iran's new president, Hassan Rohani, has criticized his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, for being "a wolf in wolf's clothing." Rohani's strategy, though, he said is to "be a wolf in sheep's clothing - smile and build a bomb."
On the part of the United States, Netanyahu said, it's important to stand by the administration's insistence that it won't tolerate a nuclear Iran - but also to make clear that military force "is truly on the table." In March,and said that President Obama is "not bluffing" about seriously considering military interjection, but both qualified that the United States is not looking for war.
"We've spoken many times, President Obama and I, about the need to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons," Netanyahu said. "I know that is the U.S. policy. What is important is to convey to them, especially after the election, that that policy will not change. ...And [it] should be backed up with ratcheted sanctions. You should ratchet up the sanctions and make it clear to Iran that they won't get away with it. And if sanctions don't work, they have to know that you'll be prepared to take military action - that's the only thing that will get their attention."
With the sheer volume of crises raging in the Middle East - including Syria's civil war and infighting in Egypt, Netanyahu said, "I have a sense that there's no sense of urgency" from the international community in stopping Iran's pursuit of nuclear power. "Yet Iran is the most important, the most urgent matter of all... Because all the problems that we have, however important, will be dwarfed by this messianic, apocalyptic, extreme regime that would have atomic bombs."
U.S. interests in thwarting Iranian nuclear power, the prime minister argued, surpass defense of its Israeli ally: "They're building intercontinental ballistic missiles to reach the American mainland within a few years," he said. "They don't need these missiles to reach us. They already have missiles that can reach us.
"...Our clocks are ticking at a different pace," Netanyahu continued. "We're closer than the United States; we're more vulnerable. And therefore, we'll have to address this question of how to stop Iran, perhaps before the United States does. But as the Prime Minister of Israel, I'm determined to do whatever is necessary to defend my country, the one and only Jewish state, from a regime that threatens us with renewed annihilation."