Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu draws a red line on a graphic of a bomb as he addresses the 67th United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. Headquarters in New York, September 27, 2012.
Credits: REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
UNITED NATIONS - Using a crudely drawn picture of a bomb as a visual aide, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the UN General Assembly that Iran was close to acquiring a nuclear weapon and that a military strike would soon be required if Iran fails to shut down its weapons development program.
"At stake is not merely the future of my country, at stake is the future of the world," Netanyahu said. "And nothing could imperil our common future more than the arming of Iran with nuclear weapons."
Netanyahu argued that a decade of diplomatic efforts and economic sanctions has not slowed Iran's nuclear weapons development program.
And he said that, during the last decade, Iran has shown itself time and time again to be an aggressor nation, whether it be the exporting of state-sanctioned terrorist cells or directly helping Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad murder thousands of his own people.
"Given this record of Iranian aggression without nuclear weapons, just imagine Iranian aggression with nuclear weapons," Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu also said that the strategy of mutually assured destruction which characterized the Cold War between the USSR and the U.S. would never work with Iran.
"There are those who believe that a nuclear-armed Iran can be deterred like the Soviet Union. That's a very dangerous assumption," Netanyahu said. "Militant jihadists behave very differently from secular Marxists. There were no
Soviet suicide bombers, yet Iran produces hordes of them. Deterrence worked with the Soviets because every time the Soviets faced a choice between their ideology and their survival, they chose their survival."
Then, quoting American academic Bernard Lewis, Netanyahu said, "For the ayatollahs of Iran, mutually assured destruction is not a deterrent, it's an inducement."
Netanyahu pressed world leaders to commit to a "red line" on Iran's nuclear development program, saying that if Iran crosses that "red line," then the only way to "credibly prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon is to prevent it from amassing enough enriched uranium for a bomb."
Iran is producing enriched uranium at large industrial plants easily visible to the West.
"The red line must be drawn on Iran's nuclear enrichment
program because these enrichment facilities are the only
nuclear installations that we can definitely see and credibly target," Netanyahu said. "I believe, faced with a clear red line, Iran will back down."