News24

Netanyahu urges 'red lines' to stop Iran

2012-09-02 22:35

Jerusalem - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged world powers on Sunday to set a "clear red line" for Tehran's atomic programme that would convince Iran they were determined to prevent it from obtaining nuclear arms.

Netanyahu's remarks suggested a growing impatience with Israel's main ally, the United States, and other countries that have been pressing him to give diplomacy and sanctions more time to work and hold off on any go-it-alone strike on Iran.

Recent heightened Israeli rhetoric has stoked speculation that Israel might attack Iran before the US elections in November, believing that President Barack Obama would give it military help and not risk alienating pro-Israeli voters.

"I believe the truth must be stated: The international community is not placing a clear red line for Iran and Iran does not see international resolve to stop its nuclear programme," Netanyahu told his cabinet.

"Unless Iran sees this clear red line and this clear resolve it will not stop moving forward with its nuclear programme, and Iran must not have nuclear weapons," he said, repeating his view that sanctions so far have not curbed Tehran's atomic ambitions.

Although Netanyahu did not single out Obama in his criticism, Israeli officials have said they hope for stronger language from the president about possible US military action.

Obama, who has had a frosty relationship with Netanyahu, has insisted he will not allow Iran to build atomic weapons and that all options are on the table.

Israel's popular YNet news website described the prime minister's latest comments as a stinging rebuke of Obama. In a US election year, Republican candidate Mitt Romney has also sharply criticised Obama's handling of Iran as not being tough enough.

And in another sign of a rift with Washington, Israeli officials voiced disappointment over recent remarks by the United States's top general signalling reluctance to intervene on Israel's behalf if it attacked Iran.

US not complicit

Tehran says it is refining uranium to fuel a planned network of nuclear power plants so that it can export more of its oil and gas. The United States and its allies accuse Iran of a covert bid to develop the capability to make nuclear bombs.

Israel, believed to have the only atomic arsenal in the Middle East, views a nuclear-armed Iran as a threat to its existence.

General Martin Dempsey, chair of the US joint chiefs of staff, has suggested Washington would not be drawn into conflict with Iran should Israel attack.

"I don't want to be complicit if they choose to do it," Britain's Guardian newspaper quoted him on Friday as saying.

Gilad Erdan, Israel's environment minister, said on Israel Radio that Dempsey's remarks "were definitely not to our liking". Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said the general's choice of words "was not the best".

Israeli officials have said Israel has yet to decide on whether to attack Iran, amid divisions within its security cabinet and warnings by military and security chiefs that a strike would have only a limited effect.

Netanyahu has said he will speak out about what he termed the dangers Iran poses to the world in an address this month to the UN General Assembly in New York. He is also expected to meet Obama during his visit, but no announcement has been made.

A senior Israeli official told Reuters last week Netanyahu would seek a firm pledge of US military action if Iran did not back down on uranium enrichment. Such a promise could dissuade Israel from attacking Iran alone, Israeli officials have said.

Israeli officials targeted

A United Nations report said on Thursday Iran had more than doubled the number of centrifuges in its fortified bunker at Fordow since May, despite Western pressure and threat of Israeli attack. The new machines are not yet operating, the report said.

"The report confirms what I have been saying for a long time, international sanctions are a burden on Iran's economy but they are not in any way delaying the advancement of Iran's nuclear programme," Netanyahu told his cabinet.

"The Iranians are using the talks with the world powers to win time and to advance their nuclear programme," he said.

An Iranian general said that if Israel were to strike Iran, Israeli officials would be the target of retaliation, Iranian media reported on Sunday.

"In case of Israel's military attack against Iran, the officials of [Israel] will be among the first victims of such an attack," Mohammad Ali Assoudi, a brigadier general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, told Iran's English-language Press TV.

His broadcast remarks gave no details, but Press TV paraphrased him as saying Israel's policies had induced hatred of its officials among residents of the occupied territories.

Iran has undertaken large-scale military manoeuvres this summer and unveiled upgrades to weapons it says are defensive, including what it said was a more accurate short-range missile.

Comments
  • fidel.mgoqi - 2012-09-02 22:49

    Netayahoo is no fool(or maybe he is a fool), and doesn't believed that Iran would commit suicide by attacking the only nuclear power in the region. What he wants and is succeeding on is to divert attention from the plight of the occupied Palestinians. He is pushing for war with Iran (actually for America to have a war with Iran) to deflect attention away from Israel's ongoing dispossesssion and degradation of the Palestinians.

      eddy.deepfield - 2012-09-02 23:06

      Fidel - your thoughts are very weak. Iran with a nuclear bomb will start the third world war. Can you not see that? Iran has promised to obliterate Israel off the face of the earth. Did you not hear or read about that. All Iran has to do is cooperate with the UN to avoid a war. Can you not see that?

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-09-02 23:23

      So what you are telling me is that the Iranians have a death wish? India and Pakistan are nuclear sworn enemies and haven't obliterated each other, in fact it is thanks to the nuclear weapon deterrent that they haven't engaged in war of any kind for that matter. The nuclear deterrent logic of MAD worked during the cold war as well, why shouldn't it work for Israel/Iran (assuming that the Iranians are actually seeking nuclear weapons, which is nothing but an allegation to date).

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-09-03 06:49

      Fidel, your MAD argument does not work in this instance because Iran is actively supporting and arming its proxies Hamas and Hisballah, as well as Syria, to attack Israel on its behalf. A dirty bomb in the hands of Hisballah, provided by Iran, is a very real threat, and not above their abilities. You have to use that fine brain of yours.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-03 07:11

      Fidel believes Nelson Mandela is a phony, a lackey of the West, a modern-day Uncle Tom. His words in the US/Mandela thread a few weeks ago. From this belief system comes these thoughts and this perspective. Obviously wrong, on both counts.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-03 07:19

      In regard to Fidel's perspective, truer reality is exactly the opposite. The more pressure there is on the Iranian regime, the more THEY try and distract and drum up support by pointing to Israel and the Palestinians. It's their "Rooi Gevaar", the slogan used by the Apartheid government to distract from the brutality of Apartheid by presenting Communism as the real, bigger threat. This is exactly what the Iranian regime is doing.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-03 07:33

      The Iranian regime is not Iran or the Iranian people. It is Khomeini and a hundred or so ultra-chauvinistic clerics and hangers-on like I'madinnerjacket. This is the inner-circle. That's it. Millions of Iranians are connected to the internet and cell phones, bubbling to get their government back and join the modern world.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-09-03 11:42

      It is greatly to Iran's credit that it has encouraged this resistance. Anyone who thinks that Hizbollah and Hamas are puppets of Iran to do its bidding is obviously too caught up in the perverse relations of imperialist society to understand where resistance and self respect comes from. Puppets and proxies don't resist, they submit, and they fight who and when they are told to. The Iranians know very well that if it were to be proved, or even a slight suspicion, that it had supplied nuclear material to these brave resistance movements, it would be held responsible, in the same way if it had done the attacking itself. So my argument, unlike fred's d**k, still stands!

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-09-03 14:02

      Hamas and Hizbollah would not resort to suicide bombing or to terrorism if they had cruise missiles, drones and destroyers. The Israeli population is complicit in the oppression and dispossession of Palestinians, as they are the direct beneficiaries of Israeli policies, not dissimilar to how Jews claim the complicity of the German population regarding Nazi actions (German tax payers have paid over billions of dollars to Israel and in technological transfers until recently). Israel hasn't hesitated to meet out collective punishment to the people of Lebanon and Gaza. You should revisit Goldstone's unrevised report, before the local Zionist gangsters threatened him with all sorts of banishment, even targetting his grandchildren by threats of refusal to perform the Mitzvah, or whatever it is called. Hamas and Hizbollah aren't occupying Israeli territory. They were created by Israeli policy to continue the cycle of violence to perpetuate their claims regarding security and justify continuing land grabs

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-03 15:32

      This perspective comes from the same mind that believes Nelson Mandela is a phony, a lackey of the West. Obviously wrong.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-03 16:08

      "So my argument, unlike fred's d**k, still stands!" Fidel, I'm quoting you. Direct quotes. Your words. If you mean therefore that what you said is wrong, then state this clearly so everyone knows. Short of doing this, your words about Nelson Mandela stand. To the overwhelming majority of South Africans, human beings actually, the idea that Nelson Mandela is a phony, is reprehensible. It is also reflective of your world-view. If you believe that, your perspective is obviously distorted, faulty, wrong. Which it is. Many people have pointed out your inaccuracies, distortions and prejudices again and again. Inaccuracies, distortions and prejudices that lead you to believe Nelson Mandela is a phony, a lackey of the West. It's amazing that ANYONE would believe this. The arrogance of the idea is astounding.

      joe.mase.7 - 2012-09-10 02:24

      Iran should continue their Nuclear Programme; if Israel disarms their Nuclear programme then I Iran should... this is a great balance of power in the region... you hypocrites...

  • tommo.too - 2012-09-03 00:53

    Teheran is soon to be smacked it would seem...

  • imtiaz.osman.5 - 2012-09-03 07:59

    Israel got no balls only mouth. They always want others to do they dirty work. They sit like cowards and victims and they let USA and its allies to their dirty work

      Larry - 2012-09-03 09:23

      The combined might (theres an oxymoron for you) of Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and the so-called Palestinians will not agree with you Imtiaz, since they had their balls handed to them on several occasions by the sole hand of Israel. Humiliating, isn't it?

      rick.kabose - 2012-09-03 09:43

      Ask some Iraqis and Syrians where their nuclear programs are going now days Imtiaz. Then talk about Israels balls.

      wallace.outkast - 2012-09-09 11:30

      @rick kabos , israel wont dare with iran , they have meet a much in power this time...

  • pierre.joubert.338 - 2012-09-03 19:26

    infidil magogi, please stop; you are speaking without thinking!!!!

      joe.mase.7 - 2012-09-10 02:27

      @Infidel Joubert - please stop... you are not even thinking, let alone speaking...

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