Netanyahu Tells U.N. Iran Could Have Nukes by Spring 2013
Joel C. Rosenberg
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told world leaders Thursday that Iran is 70 percent of the way to building its first nuclear bomb, and could significantly complete its work by spring 2013, or by summer at the latest.
In a powerful, sobering address to the U.N. General Assembly, Netanyahu said it was getting “very late” to stop “Iran’s apocalyptic leaders” from getting The Bomb. He called for the world to impose a clear “red line” on Iran, stating precisely at what point Iran’s actions would provoke a military response. He said he did not have confidence that even the best intelligence agencies would know exactly when Iran had built its first nuclear warhead. The goal, he insisted, has to be to stop Iran from enriching enough uranium to be able to build its first warhead. Time to accomplish that, he made clear, is running out fast.
As Netanyahu told the world leaders: “Iran’s apocalyptic leaders believe that a medieval holy man will reappear in the wake of a devastating Holy War, thereby ensuring that their brand of radical Islam will rule the earth. That’s not just what they believe. That’s what is actually guiding their policies and their actions.”
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s speech to the U.N. on Wednesday in which he called for the end of the “hegemonic” powers of the United States and Israel — whom he described as “the uncivilized Zionists” – and said the world would “soon” see new “global management” by the Twelfth Imam, also known as the “Mahdi,” and his deputy, Jesus Christ.
Does this mean war is imminent? That may depend on one’s definition of imminent. Israel does not now appear to be prepared to launch an “October Surprise.” But by indicating Iran could be dangerously close to having the Bomb by next spring, it does appear as if the Israeli leader was laying down what could be a final marker before he orders his forces into battle. If the world does not neutralize the Iran nuclear threat by the end of this year – or early next year – Israel may feel forced to strike.
“The relevant question is not when Iran will get the bomb,” said the Israeli Prime Minister. “The relevant question is at what stage can we no longer stop Iran from getting the bomb.”
Reports the New York Times: “Netanyahu of Israel told the United Nations on Thursday that he believes Iran’s ability to make an atomic weapon will be irreversible by next spring or summer — a far more specific time frame than he had asserted before — and he argued that a “clear red line” must be drawn to warn the Iranians they must halt their nuclear fuel enrichment before then.”
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Please read the full text of the speech.
Photo: Foto AP/Richard Drem