Repeating a four-step formula he has been urging for months, Mr. Netanyahu told his cabinet that Iran must stop enriching uranium, remove enriched uranium from the country, close its nuclear plant near Qum and stop what he called "the plutonium track.”
"Until all four of these measures are achieved, the pressure on Iran must be increased and not relaxed, and certainly not eased,” the prime minister said in a statement released by his office.
Mr. Netanyahu, who is scheduled to meet with Mr. Obama on Sept. 30, said recent developments regarding Syria’s chemical weapons had "confirmed the assumptions” that guided Israel’s policy.
"A recalcitrant state that develops or acquires weapons of mass destruction is certainly likely to use them,” he said. "Only a credible military threat can allow diplomacy or other steps to effect a halt to this armament process.”
Separately, Israel’s minister of strategic affairs expressed skepticism on Tuesday about reports that Iran might be willing to close the Fordo nuclear reactor near Qum.
"We don’t care about talk, we care about actions,” the minister, Yuval Steinitz, said on Israel Radio. "The centrifuges are spinning.”
Though the closing was one of Mr. Netanyahu’s four demands, Mr. Steinitz called it "a small step that on its own is almost meaningless” because Iran has other plants, suggesting that it would simply reduce Tehran’s capacity to produce "seven nuclear bombs a year” to six.
"Iran has to be made to face the following dilemma: Do you want to save your economy? Give up the nuclear program,” Mr. Steinitz said. "If you continue with your nuclear program, you will cause the collapse of the Iranian economy and will bring about the very realistic possibility of a military strike to destroy your nuclear facilities.”