Analysis

Netanyahu Moves Iran Nuclear Timeline to Mend Fences with Obama
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu uses a drawing of a bomb during his address to the UN General Assembly in New York, September 27, 2012. (DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
September 28, 2012
| Security
| Middle East and North Africa
Summary
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used his speech before the UN General Assembly yesterday to lecture the world – especially the United States – about the Iranian nuclear program but also to lay out a new timeline that advances the date when Iran could have a nuclear bomb. He also seemed to suggest that an Israeli strike on Iran is not imminent. The timeline was a slight retreat from statements Netanyahu made earlier this year and was probably an effort to mend fences with President Obama six weeks before the election that could see the American president win a second term.

Netanyahu, known for his oratorical skills and perfect English (he lived as a youth in the Philadelphia suburbs), gave a dramatic speech at the UN to press the case for setting a ‘red line’ to constrain Iran’s nuclear program, which he claimed is more than 70 percent of the way to producing nuclear weapons fuel. The Israeli leader’s message, however, was a retreat from his prior demands that the world stop the Iranian nuclear program by this fall and his hints that Israel would launch air strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities if this did not happen. Netanyahu illustrated his case with a cartoon drawing of a bomb with a lit fuse showing different stages of Iran’s nuclear program. He used a red marker to draw a red line on the drawing to show the stage when he said Iran would be “a few months away or a few weeks away from amassing enough enriched uranium to make a nuclear weapon.” Netanyahu said the world must draw a red line to stop Iran from reaching this level which he said Iran could achieve by next spring or summer. 

 

Click HERE to watch Prime Minister Netanyahu’s September 27 speech to the UN General Assembly and to read the full text.

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