JERUSALEM  - The global campaign of imposing sanctions against Iran has so far failed to halt Tehran’s controversial nuclear drive, Israeli PM Netanyahu said on Tuesday. “The sanctions are painful, hard. But will this bring about a halt or a retreat in the Iranian nuclear programme? Until now, it has not happened,” Netanyahu said. He said the Iranian regime is struggling financially but has strengthened its political grip following the recent parliamentary elections. He also said that he was not planning to bring forward Israel’s elections which are due in October 2013, despite speculation he was poised to call a poll this year.

“I don’t intend to bring forward the elections. I have no intention like that,”

But rumours of an early election are rife, with observers speculating they could still take place before the end of this year.

About sanctions on Iran, he said, “The regime strengthened its grip in the recent elections, despite the sanctions,” he said of the parliamentary elections which took place in Iran in early March.