Netanyahu at U.N. outlines steps to dismantle Iran nuclear program

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the general debate of the 68th session of the General Assembly on Oct. 1, 2013. Credit: UN Photo/Evan Schneider.

(  Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday afternoon, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stressed the need for firm pressure on Iran to be transparent about its nuclear program. He said a nuclear-armed Iran would be a “clear and present danger,” despite Iran’s apparent attempts to foster diplomacy with the U.S.

Netanyahu credited the U.S. for the impact of Iran sanctions, stating that the “tough sanctions have taken a big bite” out of Iran. He said that continuing to “combine tough sanctions with a credible military threat” was the only way to force the dismantling of the Iran nuclear program.

Though his speech this year did not come with a trademark prop like his “red line” diagram at last year’s U.N. General Assembly that illustrated Iran’s nuclear timetable, Netanyahu did outline four steps that would dismantle Iran’s nuclear program: ceasing all uranium enrichment, removing the stockpiles of enriched uranium from Iranian territory, dismantling Iran’s nuclear breakout capability, and stopping all work at the Islamic Republic’s heavy water reactor in Arak (whose aim is to produce plutonium).

Last week, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke at the U.N. in New York and got a phone call from U.S. President Barack Obama, the first interaction between U.S. and Iranian heads of state in 30 years. Netanyahu called Rouhani’s recent expressions of openness to diplomacy a “ruse” to make the West back down.

“I wish I could believe Rouhani, but I don’t,” Netanyahu said. “Rouhani thinks he can have his yellowcake and eat it, too.” 

Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Netanyahu said, “The dangers of a nuclear armed Iran and the emergence of other threats in our region have led many of our Arab neighbors to finally recognize that Israel is not their enemy, and this affords us the opportunity to overcome historic animosities.”

“Israel continues to seek a historic compromise with our Palestinian neighbors,” Netanyahu said. “One that ends our conflict once and for all: we want peace based on security and mutual recognition, in which a demilitarized Palestinian state recognizes the Jewish state of Israel.”

Posted on October 1, 2013 .