msnbc | September 29, 2012
>>> today president obama and israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu talked about it in a phone call friday. the two leaders underscored that they are in full agreement of the shared goal of preventing iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon . that comes on the heels of netanyahu 's speech to the u.n. where he made use of a rather tar toon-like bomb to illustrate where he draws a red line on iran's nuclear program . joining me now joel reuben former state department officer, now director of policy and government affairs. good morning.
>> good morning, alex.
>> so the jerusalem post reports today that a white house aide says the temperature is lower than it had been for military action by israel. since netanyahu 's speech what might have changed?
>> yes, it is the sense we got. and it clearly, benjamin netanyahu has endorsed the president's policy in saying that there is time and space for diplomacy. he laid out the time line when iran my get enough fissile material for one nuclear weapon at some point later next year. that means that essentially over the next half year, the minimum, he has said there should be a diplomatic effort that is going to stop iran from getting a nuclear weapon .
>> so that time line that the prime minister laid out, is that a real time line from iran developing a bomb? i mean, are we certain on that? do we know exactly what's going on in terms of time line ?
>> well, the intelligence community , and the international atomic energy agency , have very good insight into the iranian nuclear program . they have inspectors on the ground. there's intelligence assets, above in the sky from satellite imagery, as well as on the ground assets. and there's a clear understanding that iran is enriching uranium up to nearly 20%. but it has quantity that is much less than what is needed to eventu eventually develop one nuclear weapon . that gives us confidence that we can understand if and when iran were to go for a nuclear weapon , it currently has not decided to make one.
>> so u.s. and israeli intelligence , they're all on the same page in terms of a time line ? there's no difference of opinion?
>> they really are. the israeli intelligence leadership, former and current, all say that iran has not decided to make a nuclear weapon . their intelligence, the american intelligence, feeds into the international atomic energy agency assessments that are produced every four months or so. and this is the consensus view of the international community that watches these issues.
>> okay. secretary clinton met one-on-one with mr. netanyahu for more than an hour on thursday. you have that. you have the phone call that the president shared with him yesterday. has the president and benjamin netanyahu patched over any perceived differences?
>> it's a very interesting moment right now, where there's a perception that is being pushed in the political environment of differences between netanyahu and the obama administration. but when it comes to the facts, this administration has a very close relationship with the netanyahu government, the defense minister who barack has multiple times spoken about, how the support for israel's security is at the highest level it's ever been. so there's superficial arguments about it, but really no, no real split at all.
>> we know that benjamin netanyahu has known mitt romney for a long time. the fact is he spoke with him yesterday as well regarding iran . and here's what mr. romney said regarding that call.
>> i do not believe that in the final analysis we will have to use military action . i certainly hope we don't have to. i can't -- i can't take that option off the table.
>> seems like a little softer stance there from mitt romney coming out now, too. no talk of red lines . so what's going on overall?
>> well, clearly the president's policy is the one that everyone is coalescing around. even mitt romney finds it hard to disagree with a notion that we should have a diplomatic solution. some of his advisers like john bolton , however, argued for bombing yesterday. but that flies in the face of a broad swath of bipartisan security experts who argue that bombing iran would facility their acquisition of a nuclear weapon .
>> okay, joel rubin . many thanks for coming on.
>> thank you.