Israeli premier draws a 'red line' in the sand for Iran

 Speaking at the General Assembly of the United Nations on September 27,  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu resorted to graphics to indicate where Iran may reach by the middle of 2013 in its quest for nuclear weapons. He literally drew a red line where he said that Iran must be halted on a placard that he brought with him to the dais at the assembly hall. He laid out Israel’s case for stronger international action against Iran and to what he said were “libelous” accusations about the Jewish state’s treatment of Palestinians. His speech came just minutes after the head of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, had spoken to the international assembly. Netanyahu tackled statements made by Abbas in which the Palestinian leader accused Israel of “ethnic cleansing” against Palestinians, while also saying that peace will only come if Israelis and Palestinians can "sit together, negotiate together and reach a mutual compromise." The Israeli premier said that there must be “a demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes the one and only Jewish state."

As for Iran, Netanyahu used his address to repeat his oft-stated concern that the Islamic Republic of Iran, equipped with nuclear weapons, is a threat to the Mideast and the wider world. He cited evidence that sought to prove Iran’s complicity in terrorism around the world, while saying that "given this record of Iranian aggression without nuclear weapons, just imagine Iranian aggression with nuclear weapons."

As for diplomacy to rein in the Islamic Republic, Netanyahu said, "Iran uses diplomatic negotiations to buy time to advance its program," and added  "The international community has tried sanctions, has passed some of strongest sanctions. Oil exports have been curbed, and the Iranian economy has been hit hard. But we must fact the truth that sanctions have not stopped Iran's nuclear drive."

Netanyahu cast doubt on the theory that "mutual deterrence" would prevent a Iran from using nuclear  weapons, saying  it is "absurd" to suggest, "that a nuclear-armed Iran would actually stabilize the Middle East." He warned, "The hour is getting late, very late" to stop Iran from obtaining nukes. "We must face the truth," he added: Economic sanctions have not stopped Iran's nuclear program. What's needed, he said, is "a clear red line on Iran's nuclear weapons program." Marking the redline that Iran must not cross, Netanyahu said, it is the "amassing enough enriched uranium" to produce a nuclear weapon.

Holding a placard bearing an illustration of a bomb and lines across it marking three stages of the bomb development, Prime Minister Netanyahu said the red line must be drawn before the point where Iran moves to develop highly enriched uranium. Netanyahu warned that that point will come "by next spring or summer," he said, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency.  He also noted IAEA dated that shows that Iran "doubled its centrifuges last year."

"Faced with a clear red line," that marks the point where it could face military action, "Iran will back down," Netanyahu said. "At this late hour, there is only one way to peacefully prevent Iran from getting atomic bombs and that's by placing a clear red line on Iran's nuclear weapons program," Netanyahu said in his address. "Red lines don't lead to war; red lines prevent war."

For the record, Iran continues to deny that it is bent on the development of nuclear weapons. It claims that it is developing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Even so, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad continues to make statements threatening Israel with destruction while defying the United States and the United Nations.



Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. He is also a freelance translator.

Filed under politics, iran, israel, diplomacy, war, Middle East

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