Netanyahu, who’s forming his country’s next government despite disappointing results in national elections, has continued to emphasize a sense of urgency on Iran’s nuclear program, citing it first among his new government’s priorities in his election victory speech.
Israeli officials, however, have said there’s a widening gulf between Netanyahu’s remarks and the intelligence reports he receives.
"There is a question we have to ask ourselves, of ‘Did we cry wolf too early?’ ” the intelligence officer said.
An official in Israel’s Foreign Ministry who spoke with McClatchy on the condition of anonymity said that international pressure and sanctions on Iran had made a tremendous difference.
"Iran is progressing carefully, and we think that is because of international pressure led by the U.S.," the official said. He added that Israel was very pleased with the tightening of sanctions, especially the recent move to block money that Iran receives for exporting oil to Asian markets.
Last week, President Barack Obama signed the latest round of restrictions into law, imposing sanctions against international companies that do business with Iranian firms while blocking Iran from obtaining key materials necessary for its automobile industries.
Meanwhile, negotiations between Iran and the so-called P5+1 group of nations – China, France, Russia, Great Britain, the United States and Germany – are expected to resume this week. Conflicting reports over the stalled talks have suggested that there was disagreement over the location of the talks and their date.