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Netanyahu takes fears about Iran to UN

2012-09-27 16:44

New York - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will make his case against Iran before the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, arguing that time is quickly running out to stop the Islamic Republic from becoming a nuclear power and the threat of force must be seriously considered.

His demand that President Barack Obama declare "red lines" that would trigger an American attack on Iran's nuclear facilities has been rejected in Washington and sparked a public rift between the two leaders.

But a senior Israeli official in Netanyahu's entourage said the prime minister's speech will "lay a clear red line" that will not contradict Obama's words.

"Israel and the US have a common goal to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. The prime minister's remarks drawing a red line will help that this is attained," the senior official said.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said this is not the first time that there have been disagreements between the positions of Israel and the United States and that this will not "in any way harm the strong friendship between the two countries."

Netanyahu claims international diplomatic efforts and economic sanctions have failed, but a new report from the Israeli Foreign Ministry, leaked Thursday, concludes that sanctions are hitting Iran hard.

According to the report, details of which appeared in the Haaretz newspaper, Iran's oil exports declined by over 50% in the past year and sanctions on Iran's central bank have made it difficult for the regime to access its foreign currency.

An Israeli official confirmed the new report but refused to elaborate on it. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss internal government documents.

Netanyahu's time at the UN podium gives him an opportunity in front of the international community to press his case once again, perhaps in a final plea before Israel takes matters into its own hands.

Pre-emptive strike in Israel

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, flouting even American wishes.

The Obama administration has urgently sought to hold off Israeli military action, which would likely result in the US being pulled into a conflict and cause region wide mayhem on the eve of American elections.

Such an attack would almost certainly lead to retaliatory Iranian missile strikes on Israeli population centres. On Sunday, Iranian leaders suggested they may strike Israeli pre-emptively if they feel threatened.

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

Also Thursday, on the sidelines of the General Assembly, key figures will gather for a Friends of Yemen meeting that will be co-chaired by British Foreign Secretary William Hague, Yemen's President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and Saudi Arabia's Deputy Foreign Ministe Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Abdullah.

The meeting will produce a communique aimed at generating support for Hadi, who took office in February after more than a year of political turmoil and is now trying to steer his country's democratic transition.

Later, political directors from the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany will be meeting on the Iranian nuclear issue.

A few hours before Netanyahu flew to the US, Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, known for past fiery denunciations of the United States and Israel, spoke at length about his vision for a "new world order" during his speech at the UN.

His speech on Wednesday happened to fall on Yom Kippur, the most sacred day on the Jewish calendar, devoted to fasting, prayer and introspection.

Sentence to death

Netanyahu issued a statement condemning the speech soon after the fast ended. "On the day when we pray to be inscribed in the book of life a platform was given to a dictatorial regime that strives, at every opportunity, to sentence us to death," Netanyahu said.

'In my remarks to the UN General Assembly, they will hear my response. History has proven that those who have wanted to wipe us off the map have failed, as the Jewish People have overcome all obstacles," Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu has said he is going to the UN to draw attention to what Israel perceives as the Iranian threat. Speaking to his Cabinet on Sunday, he said at the UN he would "reiterate that the most dangerous country in the world must not be allowed to arm itself with the most dangerous weapon in the world." He did not elaborate.

On Tuesday, the Maariv daily reported that Netanyahu would spell out what limits the international community should set for Iran to prevent it from becoming a nuclear power and how long that will take. Netanyahu has never laid out these limits precisely.

Iran insists its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes but Israel, the US and other Western allies reject the claim. Four rounds of UN sanctions have already been placed on Iran.

A UN 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, even as it develops much of the infrastructure needed to do so.

Obama has repeatedly said he will not allow Iran to gain nuclear weapons and has said the US would be prepared to use force as a last resort. But in an interview Sunday with 60 Minutes he also vowed to "block out any noise that's out there" on the issue, in an apparent swipe at Netanyahu.

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.

No shame

Netanyahu has a history of fiery speeches at the UN General Assembly.

In 2009, he waved the blueprints for the Nazi death camp Aushwitz 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.

To those who remained at the General Assembly while Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke, he chastised: "Have you no shame? Have you no decency?"

And last year, he warned the world about the threat of militant Islam and Iran.

During his three-day visit, Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper - who recently expelled the Iranian ambassador from his country - and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He is not scheduled to meet Obama.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is also set to speak in New York. The Palestinian leader is expected to ask the United Nation's General Assembly to vote on recognizing Palestine as an observer state in November.

Abbas has said he wants to put off a vote until after U.S. elections to avoid entangling the Palestinian statehood bid in presidential politics.

"I'm not in the UN to delegitimise Israel but to present the two state solution," Abbas told US Jewish community leaders last week at a meeting by the S Daniel Abraham Centre for Middle East Peace. "I want to have Palestine as a non-member state."

Abbas' relatively low-key approach is in contrast to last year when he was at centre stage with his attempt to win full membership in the world body. That application failed to win enough support in the Security Council.

Comments
  • richard.bosmano - 2012-09-27 17:06

    Should the iranians be so stupid enough to launch a "pre-emptive" strike on Israel,reading between the lines,throw hizbolla and hamas at Israel, then perhaps Israel should turn tehran to glass with their "non existant nukes".That will shut the persian desert rats up once and for all. As for the NPT , screw it ,India and pakistan didn't care for it. Which NPT member will come to irans aid? who.who cares remotely for the iranians. iran is just a petrol pump , it's citizens merely petrol attendants. God protect the Zoroastrians there though.

  • fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-27 17:10

    The Iranian regime adjusts elections to hold onto power. It has stolen the Iranian government from the Iranian people. It funds the Jihadist movement that has killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of innocent people, mainly Muslims in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere. It is supporting Bashar Assad's brutal oppression of Syrians wanting nothing more than the right to vote. It supports the stoning of women. It openly calls for the elimination of Israel and denies the Holocaust, the single biggest attempt at human genocide in human history: six million people exterminated. It is dishonest, highly repressive, and self-serving at the expense of the Iranian people and humanity at large. It's days are numbered, and it knows this. That is why it is making a dash for nuclear weapons.

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-09-27 18:39

      Fred will continue to speak truth to the misinformed. he has achieved more thumbs up for the same repeated statement than any other on news 24 since inception. no doubt, he will continue to do so.

      luyolo.mhlauli.9 - 2012-09-27 19:07

      The Iranian Govt took over from the Shah who was installed by the United States. Its on record go read your history

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-28 07:55

      Wrong again Luyolo. The Shah came to power during WWII after an Anglo-Soviet invasion that forced his father from power. Everything you read you twist with your stupid anti-US rhetoric.

  • brayden.tuscher - 2012-09-27 17:20

    Can someone tell me why its OK for Israel to have nukes (but not admit to it) but not Iran? Anyone?

      enrique.garciasolis - 2012-09-27 17:32

      Why? Because of hypocrisy on the part of Israel and Jewish control of American democratic process. Zionists want hegemony in the Middle East.

      Desilusionada - 2012-09-27 17:34

      If you are too dumb to work it out for yourself by now, then it is your loss. Israel has not built these things while telling the whole world that they are going to use it to wipe their enemies of the earth. They built them and quietly told every single country who publicly vowed to wipe Israel off the Earth, that they must please not try to do so. This has worked well for many years. Until now. Do you expect Israel to just hand their country over? Would you be happy if one neighbour shoots a couple of rounds into your backyard every few days? While the other tells the neighbourhood how he is going to kill you? While the one on the other side shows you a knife every day you go outside? And then every once in a while the one next to you and the one behind you have a gunfight? So that is "why it is OK for Israel to have nukes (but not admit to it) but not Iran" .......

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-27 17:34

      The Iranian regime adjusts elections to hold onto power. It has stolen the Iranian government from the Iranian people. It funds the Jihadist movement that has killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of innocent people, mainly Muslims in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere. It is supporting Bashar Assad's brutal oppression of Syrians wanting nothing more than the right to vote. It supports the stoning of women. It openly calls for the elimination of Israel and denies the Holocaust, the single biggest attempt at human genocide in human history: six million people exterminated. It is dishonest, highly repressive, and self-serving at the expense of the Iranian people and humanity at large. It's days are numbered, and it knows this. That is why it is making a dash for nuclear weapons.

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-09-27 17:41

      Because Iran is run by religious nutjobs who see the killing of Jews as a holy expression of worship. iran also supports and arms Islamic militias, such as Hisballah and they can be given a nuclear dirty bomb to plant in an Israeli city. There is your answer.

  • jojo.balela.1 - 2012-09-27 17:30

    Is Netanyahu the unofficial leader of the \free\ world?

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-27 17:35

      Are you feeling disempowered and projecting this onto Netanyahu?

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-09-27 17:42

      No, he is the official leader of the Israeli government and people.

  • jojo.balela.1 - 2012-09-27 17:35

    So Israel wants to maintain peace in the world by starting World War 3 ... Same concept as promoting peace between itself and Palestine by bombing Palestinians - just on a slightly bigger scale. The result will probably be the same but on a slightly bigger scale. Fighting only begets more fighting

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-27 22:17

      No, he's protecting the very existence of Israel that is openly and repeatedly threatened by the Iranian regime. Where have you been? The same regime abuses the Palestinians by using them to create a false decoy, a false enemy in Israel in an attempt to justify its ultra chauvinistic, highly oppressive and corrupt existence. Like the Apartheid regime did with Communism. Where have you been on this too? They incite and arm Palestinians to attack Israel almost daily. What wound you do if someone attacked your house almost very day?

  • enrique.garciasolis - 2012-09-27 17:39

    The current situation with Israel, Zionist and paranoid Netanyahu, should be evidence that the aggressiveness of the latter is not beneficial to the U.S. It's time for the U.S. to disasocciate itself from these professional "victims", to eliminate their pernicious influence on the American democratic process, and to realize that they are a nation within a nation looking out for THEIR benefit, and not ours.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-27 22:01

      Never going to happen. Why? Because your perspective is wrong, that's why. Drop the superficial racist street rhetoric you've picked up somewhere and you'll see more clearly.

  • Gcodi Mahomed - 2012-09-27 18:53

    nicholas sarkozy and barak obama were spot on when they said that MR Nutjobyahoo,is one annoying character!!!!

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-09-27 21:16

      that's OK. As annoying as a little brother, but a brother nevertheless.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-27 22:07

      So? What has personality got to do with anything. The alliance with Israel is unshakable. By far the strongest military powers on Earth stand as one, should to shoulder on this. Who's going to successfully challenge it? The rag-tag that is Al-Quaida? The Taliban? The moron Ahmedinejad and his dark ultra-chauvinistic religious nut father figure the Ayatollah who themselves are about to enter into a life or death struggle for survival? I don't think so.

  • joseph.motloung.3 - 2012-09-27 22:18

    The "case" that is supposedly going to be put forward by the Nazi-Zionists will not win the the support of the international community. The Non-Aligned Movement has expressed support for Iran's peaceful nuclear programe. A survey found that more than 52% of the people of the middle east said they would feel more safe if Iran had nuclear weapons. There are only a few regimes which are threatened by Iran's peaceful nuclear programme

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-27 22:37

      Another faulty post from you Joseph. Nazi Zionist? Yeah right. 52% is hardly convincing is it. Especially as the new generation is increasingly coming to the fore. The old corrupt guard is being removed. Unfortunately you're part of the old. Bye bye.

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