Netanyahu Demands Harder Stance on Iran

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses U.N. General Assembly on Thursday. The leader reaffirmed his demand for an international “red line” on Iranian nuclear activities widely suspected to be geared toward weapons development (AP Photo/Richard Drew).
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses U.N. General Assembly on Thursday. The leader reaffirmed his demand for an international “red line” on Iranian nuclear activities widely suspected to be geared toward weapons development (AP Photo/Richard Drew).

Iran must be made to understand there is a specific point in development of its nuclear program that would trigger military action by other nations, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a Thursday address to the U.N. General Assembly.

Netanyahu warned of the threat posed by a nuclear-armed Iran to the region and the world, then demanded a "clear red line on Iran's nuclear weapons program."

"Red lines don't lead to war, red lines prevent war," he said.

Any red line must begin with uranium enrichment activities that could be used to produce nuclear-weapon material, Netanyahu said. Other components of an atomic arms program could be far more easily hidden to prevent destruction by airstrikes, he added.

That line must be set weeks or months ahead of the point at which Iran would have sufficient enriched uranium for a bomb, according to Netanyahu. He asserted that Tehran would retreat in the face of a clear threat.

It's getting "late, very late," the Associated Press quoted Netanyahu as saying regarding prevention of a nuclear-armed Iran.

The Israeli leader's address followed a speech by President Obama in which the U.S. leader issued no concrete final warning to Tehran over its atomic activities, Reuters reported. Obama noted, though, that opportunities are "not unlimited" for peacefully resolving a long-running nuclear standoff with the Persian Gulf regional power.

Tel Aviv, Washington and other capitals suspect Iran's atomic efforts are geared toward development of a weapon capability; Tehran insists all its atomic activities are strictly nonmilitary in nature. The Obama administration has said it is ready to curb Iran's atomic ambitions through military action should intensified sanctions and diplomatic engagement fail to resolve the standoff, but Netanyahu has warned his country could unilaterally employ armed force against Iran if the United States does not clearly define what developments would prompt further action against Tehran's atomic progress.

"The prime minister will set a clear red line in his speech that will not contradict Obama's remarks. Obama said Iran won't have nuclear weapons. The prime minister will clarify the way in which Iran won't have nuclear arms," a high-level Israeli government insider said.

The source added: "The prime minister will say that Israel and the United States can work together to achieve their common goal,"

Netanyahu in a Wednesday release said he is "working in every way so that Iran will not have nuclear weapons," Agence France-Presse reported.

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said Obama and Netanyahu officials are closing in a deal to establish boundaries for Tehran, Reuters reported on Thursday.

The White House has suggested the U.S. and Israeli leaders would soon correspond by telephone, according to Arutz Sheva. The exchange would likely take place on Friday, spokesman Jay Carney said.

Global economic penalties are taking a significant toll on Iran's economy, the Israeli Foreign Ministry said in findings reported on Thursday by Haaretz.

Iranian petroleum sales have dropped by half over the last 12 months and the nation's oil income has fallen by $40 billion since the start of 2012,  the ministry said in an analysis verified an Israeli government insider. Steps against the Iranian central bank have impacted the value of the nation's monetary unit by complicating efforts by government efforts to tap overseas funds, it adds.

"Iran is on the verge of bankruptcy because of the sanctions, and there are growing protests against the ayatollahs, but these sanctions have not dissuaded the regime in power in Tehran from pursuing its nuclear ambitions," AFP quoted Ayalon as saying on Thursday.

Issue specialists have suggested Israel's top officials remain equally divided over the potential use of armed force against Iranian atomic assets, The Hill newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Iran can thwart any attempt to undermine its atomic activities through clandestine action, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday in comments reported by Reuters. His comments followed reports of new sabotage efforts against Iranian atomic sites.

Meanwhile, Iran's envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency on Tuesday said he had not made comments on Iranian uranium refinement attributed to him in a recent news report. The Inter Press Service cited Ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh as saying Tehran was willing to suspend production of 20-percent enriched uranium in return for a curbing of sanctions.

"I’ve taken part in no interviews about (the country’s uranium) enrichment and relevant issues with anyone in the past one month. I’ve not said such a thing,” Ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh told Iran's Press TV by telephone.

September 27, 2012
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Iran must be made to understand there is a specific point in development of its nuclear program that would trigger military action by other nations, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a Thursday address to the U.N. General Assembly.

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