"History will not forgive those who do not stop Iran's nuclear program," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told U.S. senators visiting in Israel over the weekend, in what appeared to be a subtle message to U.S. President Barack Obama.
Netanyahu met with Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Christopher Coons (D-Del.) in his office in Jerusalem on Saturday.
McCain ran against Obama in the 2008 U.S. presidential elections.
During the meeting, the prime minister and the senators discussed developments in the Middle East, including the need to intensify sanctions against Iran and the advanced contacts between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.
Netanyahu thanked the senators for their support of Israel, and remarked on recent U.S. pressure on Israel to abandon plans to build new homes in contentious areas in and around Jerusalem.
"Building in Jerusalem is not the world's problem; a nuclear Iran is the world's problem," Netanyahu said.
During the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, Netanyahu said he told the U.S. senators that, "the problem is not building in Ariel and it is not building in Jerusalem. The problem in the Middle East is Iran's attempt to build nuclear weapons, and the chemical weapons in Syria and the Islamic extremism that is spreading in Africa and threatening to inundate the entire region.
Netanyahu reiterated that, "history will not forgive those who allow Iran to arm itself with nuclear weapons. This was, and remains, the main mission facing not only myself and Israel, but the entire world."
The prime minister's comments come after Bloomberg columnist Jeffrey Goldberg recently wrote an article quoting Obama as saying, “Israel doesn’t know what its own best interests are,” and that every time Israel announced new settlement construction, it moved further down the path toward near-total isolation.
The comments surfaced just days before the Jan. 22 Israeli Knesset elections.