Washington (CNN) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview aired Sunday that the upcoming U.S. presidential election should not influence the debate over how and when to stop Iran's nuclear ambitions, a contentious issue that remains a sticking point between the Israeli leader and President Barack Obama.
Yet in recent interviews, Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney have stated largely similar stances on the issue of setting clear "red line" boundaries for Iran as it advances its nuclear program, which leaders in Tehran maintain is for peaceful purposes.
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"The Iranian centrifuges that are charging ahead simply do not take time out for the American elections," Netanyahu told CNN chief political correspondent Candy Crowley on "State of the Union."
Calls for specific "red lines" that Israel and its allies would set on Iran's nuclear program have thus far been rebuffed by the Obama administration, though the president has said it would be unacceptable for Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon.
In an interview with Telemundo on Wednesday, Obama said he had "stated repeatedly, publicly, that red line - and that is we're not going to accept Iran having a nuclear weapon." He did not offer any specific threshold in the development of such a weapon that would prompt the United States to take action.
The issue has played a role on the campaign trail, with Romney sharply criticizing the president for not doing more to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weaponry.
Yet in an interview this week, Romney struck much the same tone as Obama in describing his own "red line" for Iran.
"My red line is Iran may not have a nuclear weapon," Romney told ABC News. "It is inappropriate for them to have the capacity to terrorize the world. Iran as a nuclear nation is unacceptable to the United States of America."
When asked if the two would have the same "red line" going forward, Romney said "yes."
"And recognize that when one says that it's unacceptable to the United States of America, that that means what it says. You'll take any action necessary to prevent that development, which is Iran becoming nuclear," Romney continued.
Obama's campaign and administration have defended their steps to stem Iran's nuclear ambitions, including what they say are historic and crippling sanctions on the country.
On Sunday, Netanyahu wouldn't say which candidate he thought would better handle the issue.
"I know that people are trying to draw me into the American election, and I'm not going to do that," Netanyahu said. "But I will say that we value, we cherish the bipartisan support for Israel in the United States, and we're supported by Democrats and Republicans alike. This is not an electoral issue. It is not based on any electoral consideration. I think that there's a common interest of all Americans, of all political persuasions, to stop Iran."