Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Monday on the world to lay down a red line for Iran, saying the clearer the line, the less the chance of bloodshed - in a possible pullback from hints that Israel may attack the Islamic republic, dpa reported.
He told a group of US and Israeli military veterans that Iran was "galloping ahead" with its nuclear programme because it did not see clear red lines, "or the necessary resolve and determination from the international community."
"The clearer the red line drawn before Iran by the international community, the smaller the chance of a conflict," a statement from his office quoted him as saying.
The premier's comments came hours after the New York Times reported that the Obama administration is pushing ahead with a range of steps "short of war," which it hopes will head off an Israeli military attack on Iran's suspected nuclear weapons programme.
Washington is also mulling new declarations by President Barack Obama about what might bring about American military action, as well as covert activities that have been previously considered and rejected, the Times reported.
Israel sees a nuclear-armed Iran as an existential threat, pointing to repeated statements by Iranian leaders that the Jewish state should be wiped off the map.
Iran denies Western allegations that it is seeking to build a nuclear weapon and insists that its nuclear programme is solely for peaceful purposes.
Speculation has grown in recent weeks that an Israeli attack on Iran could taker place in the coming weeks, before the US presidential election in November.
A unilateral Israeli strike is opposed by Washington and the international community, and Israeli officials have admitted that at best, it could only delay Iran's nuclear programme, not destroy it totally.
But Netanyahu and his Defence Minister, Ehud Barak, are understood to be in favour of launching an attack, believing that international sanctions and pressure on Tehran are not succeeding in convincing Iran to shut down its nuclear activities.