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March 10, 2021 3:05 pm

Netanyahu: I Prevented Iran From Acquiring an ‘Arsenal’ of Nuclear Weapons

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a joint statements with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades (not pictured) in Jerusalem February 14, 2021. Marc Israel Sellem/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that his campaign against the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran prevented the Islamic Republic from acquiring “an arsenal” of nuclear weapons.

At an English-language event held by the Tel Aviv International Salon, Netanyahu was asked by journalist Lahav Harkov about the results of his campaign, especially in regard to the claim that Iran is now closer than ever to a nuclear bomb.

Netanyahu asserted, “I think if it weren’t for the effort that I led worldwide, including going to the American Congress and standing up against this Iran deal, Iran would have already had not a nuclear bomb, but an arsenal of nuclear bombs.”

Also citing Israel’s intelligence operations against Iran, such as stealing its nuclear archive, Netanyahu said, “With other Arab countries that I forged now peace deals, and some of them are en route to having peace deals, one of the things that unites them is that they say, ‘We respect your leadership, Prime Minister Netanyahu, we know that you stand against Iran, and that’s why we’re standing with you.’”

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“Because of what I did, Iran has been set back for years, and because of what I will do, they will never, ever have a nuclear weapon,” Netanyahu emphasized. “As long as I’m prime minister, Iran will not have atomic bombs.”

“There is a realignment in the Middle East,” Netanyahu said, adding that when he gave his speech before Congress, “We got calls from Arab leaders in the Middle East who said, ‘We can’t believe what your prime minister is doing right now. He’s standing against the whole world, against the US at the time, and he’s lifting the torch of resistance against Iran’s nuclear program.’”

“That’s really what did the pivot,” he asserted. “That’s what made them come to Israel. That’s what forged the four historic peace agreements that we have today. … They saw Israel as standing up against Iran, which threatens them … so Israel became an indispensable ally.”

Asked what he wanted his legacy to be after eleven years as prime minister, Netanyahu replied, “I think two things. One, the protector of Israel, because I devoted much of my adult life to preventing Iran from having a nuclear weapon.”

“The second thing, the liberator of its economy,” he said, “because I have introduced a free market economy.”

“I’m so proud of the dozens and dozens of reforms that we’ve made launching Israel to be one of the great advanced economies of the world,” Netanyahu said, “and you ain’t seen nothing yet. I’m going to bring 5G, robotics, biology, life sciences, clean energy, cyber. I’m going to turn Israel into a cyber power, a gas power. The sky is the limit.”

Netanyahu also cited what he called the “billions and billions of dollars” that will be pumped into the Israeli economy due to the normalization agreements with the Gulf countries.

“This is going to make Israel a great, great country, one of the greatest economies in the world,” he said.

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