Last Updated:November 30 @ 07:23 am

Netanyahu: Red Line for Iran

By Aron Heller

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - In his most detailed plea to date for global action against Iran's nuclear program, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday the world has until next summer at the latest to stop Iran before it can build a nuclear bomb.

Netanyahu flashed a diagram of a cartoon-like bomb before theU.N. General Assembly showing the progress Iran has made, saying it has already completed the first stage of uranium enrichment.

Then he pulled out a red marker and drew a line across what he said was a threshold Iran was approaching and which Israel could not tolerate — the completion of the second stage and 90 percent of the way to the uranium enrichment needed to make an atomic bomb.

"By next spring, at most by next summer at current enrichment rates, they will have finished the medium enrichment and move on to the final stage," he said. "From there, it's only a few months, possibly a few weeks before they get enough enriched uranium for the first bomb."

Israel considers a nuclear-armed Iran to be an existential threat, citing Iranian denials of the Holocaust, its calls for Israel's destruction, its development of missiles capable of striking the Jewish state and its support for hostile Arab militant groups.

On Thursday he presented his case to the world just why a nuclear armed Iran would be a danger to many other countries as well. Casting the battle as one between modernity and the "medieval forces of radical Islam," Netanyahu said deterrence would not work against Iran as it had with the Soviet Union.

"Deterrence worked with the Soviets, because every time the Soviets faced a choice between their ideology and their survival, they chose survival," he said. But "militant jihadists behave very differently from secular Marxists. There were no Soviet suicide bombers. Yet Iran produces hordes of them."

Netanyahu has repeatedly argued that time is running out to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power and that the threat of force must be seriously considered. Israeli leaders have issued a series of warnings in recent weeks suggesting that if Iran's uranium enrichment program continues it may soon stage a unilateral military strike. This week Iranian leaders suggested they may strike Israeli preemptively if they felt threatened, stoking fears of a regional war.

President Barack Obama has vowed to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power but has rejected Netanyahu's demands for setting an ultimatum past which the U.S. would attack. His administration has urgently sought to hold off Israeli military action, which would likely result in the U.S. being pulled into a conflict and cause region-wide mayhem on the eve of American elections. Netanyahu's 2013 Israeli deadline could be interpreted as a type of concession, but Israeli officials insisted action was still needed immediately and that in his speech Netanyahu was referring to the absolute point of no return.

Netanyahu appeared to be trying to soothe his differences with the White House when he thanked Obama's stance, adding that his own words were meant only to help achieve the common goal.

And he thanked the U.S. and other governments that have imposed sanctions which, he said, have hurt Iran's economy and curbed its oil exports but have not changed Tehran's intentions to develop the capacity to build nuclear weapons.

"I believe that faced with a clear red line, Iran will back down. This will give more time for sanctions and diplomacy to convince Iran to dismantle its nuclear weapons program altogether," the Israeli prime minister said. "Red lines don't lead to war, red lines prevent war."

Netanyahu did not detail what should be done if his "red line" was crossed, but the insinuation was clear. In perhaps his final plea before Israel felt the need to take matters into its own hands, Netanyahu pounded away at the dangers posed by Iran.

"To understand what the world would be like with a nuclear-armed Iran, just imagine the world with a nuclear-armed al-Qaida," he said. "Nothing could imperil the world more than a nuclear-armed Iran."

Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, but Israel, the U.S. and other Western allies suspect otherwise. Four rounds of U.N. sanctions have already been placed on Iran.

A U.N. report last month only reinforced Israeli fears, finding that Iran has moved more of its uranium enrichment activities into fortified bunkers deep underground where they are impervious to air attack. Enrichment is a key activity in building a bomb, though it has other uses as well, such as producing medical isotopes.

While Israel is convinced that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapon, American officials believe Iran has not yet made a final decision to take the plunge and that there is still time for diplomacy.

Iran's talks with world powers over the issue have stalled, however, and Netanyahu argued Thursday that "Iran uses diplomatic negotiations as a means to buy time to advance its nuclear program."

Israel's timeline for military action is shorter than that of the United States, which has far more powerful bunker-busting bombs at its disposal, and there is great suspicion in Israel over whether in the moment of truth Obama will follow through on his pledge.

"Each day, that point is getting closer. That's why I speak today with such a sense of urgency. And that's why everyone should have a sense of urgency," Netanyahu said. "The relevant question is not when Iran will get the bomb. The relevant question is at what stage can we no longer stop Iran from getting the bomb."

Netanyahu has a history of fiery speeches about Iran before the U.N. General Assembly.

In 2009, he waved the blueprints for the Nazi death camp Auschwitz and invoked the memory of his own family members murdered by the Nazis while making his case against Iran's Holocaust denial and threats to destroy Israel. And last year, he warned about "the specter of nuclear terrorism" if Iran were not stopped.

While the bulk of Netanyahu's speech dealt with Iran, he also rebuked Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who spoke shortly before him to the U.N. General Assembly and accused Israel of ethnic cleansing for building settlements in east Jerusalem.

"We won't solve our conflict with libelous speeches at the U.N.," Netanyahu said. "We have to sit together, negotiate together and reach a mutual compromise."

Israel captured the eastern part of Jerusalem from Jordan during the 1967 Mideast War and later annexed it in a move that hasn't been recognized internationally. The Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state along with the Gaza Strip and the rest of the West Bank.

In his speech, Abbas also said he had opened talks on a new bid for international recognition at the U.N.

The Palestinians will apply to the General Assembly for nonmember state status, in stark contrast to last year's failed bid to have the Security Council admit them as a full member state.

If Palestine does become a U.N. observer state, it will not have voting rights in the world body but will have international recognition as a "state." This could enhance the possibility of the Palestinians joining U.N. agencies and becoming parties to treaties including the International Court of Justice or the International Criminal Court.

Abbas insisted that the new quest for recognition was "not seeking to delegitimize Israel, but rather establish a state that should be established: Palestine."

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  1. billwvComment by billwv
    September 28, 2012 @ 7:55 am

    I believe with the escalation of tensions and the inevitable certainty of Iran producing an atomic bomb; Netanyahu is simply showing the world that Israel is fully aware of the imminent danger and WILL act accordingly. Iran stands to be FRIED.

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  2. ccfontenComment by ccfonten
    September 28, 2012 @ 9:34 am

    I sincerely wish we had leaders in DC like Mr Netanyahu. The man has my sincere admiration and respect.

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  3. librabobComment by librabob
    September 28, 2012 @ 9:44 am

    Hands down, the best speaker and the best world leader at the UN Conference. Too bad he already has a job, we could use him to replace the president we have. I’m sure we could just overlook that lack of a birth certificate thing once more.

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  4. crunchemComment by crunchem
    September 28, 2012 @ 9:53 am

    Why didn’t he use a sketch of a bomb that resembles an actual nuclear bomb instead of the one from Stratego?

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  5. downdraftComment by downdraft
    September 28, 2012 @ 10:06 am

    The days of Henry Kissinger as Secretary of State are long past…that was a time when you experienced a very intelligent statesman at work…

    Today, we have Hillary the Screamer, or in other words inadequacy at work…this administration is only geared to “react” rather than apply a strategy…a typical “lead from the rear” mentality…

    “lead from the rear”…an interesting description of Obama…it simply means he thinks with his rear end mounted on his shoulders…

    Orders given to Obama are “to keep on course with destroying our Republic, regardless of voter reaction”…re-election is not his worry or concern…just doing what he is told!

    My guess, if he falls drastically behind Mitt, or even loses to Mit…Mit will never make it to the White House!

    George Sorros will arrange for substantial “occurrences”. like Israel bombing Iran, or Iran bombing Israel…thus requiring this country to declare us in a “state of emergency” and then all bets are off…

    Obama stays in the White House…sans Republic.

    All these events going on now are not really important to Obama…destroying the Republic and “reorganizing America” as a Muslim or third rate country are his marching orders…

    God Bless Israel…and this United States.

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  6. liltina20Comment by liltina20
    September 28, 2012 @ 11:05 am

    Admiration and respect to a true leader of peace and freedom. Tell it like it is Mr. Netanyahu. Sure wish our president had cajones like you

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  7. pramosComment by pramos
    September 28, 2012 @ 11:12 am

    “We won’t solve our conflict with libelous speeches at the U.N.,” Netanyahu said. “We have to sit together, negotiate together and reach a mutual compromise.”

    Mr. Netanyahu, can you say “Hypocrisy?”

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    • mredComment by mred
      September 28, 2012 @ 12:44 pm

      I don’t see any hypocrisy in what he says or wants. It is always better to sit down and talk rather then go to war. Israel does not want war, it wants peace, but Iran will not let it alone. If given a change, Israel is more then willing to sit down and talk IF those talks can lead to peace and not just stall for more time. They are not stupid and don’t want war. No one in their right mind wants war, but there comes a time when talking has to stop and action has to be taken. No leader in their right mind want to see the loss of all those young men that a war would bring, but there seems to be to many yet in this world that are not in their right minds. Given a chance, I think I Israel would bend over backwards to avoid war, but they are not being given that chance.

      I just hope that this can all be held off until Obama is gone. With him in the White House, Israel will get no help from us and that is really to bad, because then things would get worse. Any attack by Israel by themselves will bring a flock or missiles after them from Iran. They may not be nuclear tipped, but even conventional war heads add up when you are talking about sending 1,000 at once. I just pray that we get some leadership in this country that will work on helping the world instead of tearing it apart. Obama and his crew are hell bent on destruction and ours is one of the places he wants to destroy right along with Israel. I’m surprised he is not giving aid to Iran right along with the rest of the Muslim countries………….

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    • thecitizenComment by thecitizen
      September 29, 2012 @ 2:02 am

      @ mred: Since 1967, in order to have peace, Israel has bent over in so many ways they are virtuoso contortionists. Matters not a whit to their adversaries.

      Re your comment, “I’m surprised he [Obama] is not giving aid to Iran right along with the rest of the Muslim countries.” He IS AND HAS blatantly given US aid to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Libya (already fallen and under MB proxy control) and is pursuing the same course in Syria. In each case he has helped replace a dictatorial despot happy with their own little kingdoms with radical Islamist regimes/states who will stop at nothing short of WORLD domination.

      He gives aid to Iran by blatantly and publicly leaving Israel alone and twisting slowly in the breeze, while Iran is double full speed ahead developing nuclear war capabilities.

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  8. uscitizenComment by uscitizen
    September 28, 2012 @ 1:29 pm

    One of our closest allies and friend is being snubbed by this ****** in chief. We really need to get this guy out in November so our friend can have trust in us once more!

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  9. gavinwcaComment by gavinwca
    September 28, 2012 @ 11:51 pm

    Netanyahu gives a diplomatic speech, and Obummer insults his country by apologizing to the radical jihadist , for letting them homosexually rape and murder our diplomats. What a disgrace.

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