Netanyahu Makes the Case Against a Nuclear Iran at UN Speech
Opening his speech with a complete rebuke of remarks given by the Iranian president just over 24 hours earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a clear picture of what he believes should be a solid red line for Iran as it pursues nuclear weapons capacity.
“For over 15 years,” Netanyahu said, he has been speaking about the threat of a nuclear armed Iran. “I speak about it now because when it comes to the survival of my country, it’s not only my right to speak, it’s my duty to speak.”
Diplomacy, Netanyahu said, has not worked in stopping Iran’s development of nuclear technology. “It has had an effect,” he said, on the Iranian economy, but “we must face the truth, sanctions have not stopped Iran’s nuclear program either.”
Netanyahu then moved to what would be the central aspect of his speech, a red line for Iran on their nuclear program.
“To be credible, a red line must be drawn first and foremost in one vital part of their program, on Iran’s efforts to enrich uranium,” Netanyahu said.
Likening uranium to gun powder in exploding a nuclear weapon, Netanyahu said Iran’s nuclear plants are still “visible” and “vulnerable”. Preventing Iran’s ability to enrich uranium is “the only way” to stop its ability to develop a nuclear weapon.
Using a diagram, Netanyahu said it will be by next spring or summer’s time that Iran will be a few months or possibly a few weeks away from enriching enough uranium for a nuclear bomb.
The red lines drawn by the international community, Netanyahu said, should state that Iran cannot pass 90% completion of the work needed to make a nuclear weapon. Experts believe this to be enough uranium enriched at a level of 20%, which would place the Iranians a few months, or weeks, away from being able to complete a nuclear device.
“I believe that when faced with a clear red line, Iran will back down,” the Israeli leader proclaimed.
Referring to President Obama’s speech at the United Nations two days prior, which said that the United States will not allow a nuclear Iran, Netanyahu said all Israelis appreciate that message.
At the beginning of his speech, Netanyahu spoke about technological advancements made by Israeli citizens, the capabilities of Israeli medical teams in responding to natural disasters in Japan and Haiti, and the thousands of Arabs who come to Israel every year to recieve hospital care.
Netanyahu also referred to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, saying that only negotiations can lead to a solution. The drive for a unilateral declaration of statehood, something Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has said he will pursue at the United Nations, is not a viable option to solve the decades long crisis, Netanyahu said.
“It is because Israel cherishes life, that Israel cherishes peace and seeks peace.”