Israel urges 'red line' over Iran's nuke program

Updated: 2012-09-28 10:05


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UNITED NATIONS - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu here on Thursday urged the world to draw a "clear red line" over Iran's nuclear program.

"At this late hour, there is only one way to peacefully prevent Iran from getting atomic bombs and that's by placing a clear red line on Iran's nuclear weapons program," Netanyahu said to the UN's 67th session of the General Assembly's General Debate.

 Israel urges 'red line' over Iran's nuke program

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu draws a red line on a graphic of a bomb as he addresses the 67th United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York, Sept 27, 2012.  [Photo/Agencies]

"To be credible, a red line must be drawn first and foremost in one vital part of their program: on Iran's efforts to enrich uranium," he said.

Israel, the United States and most Western countries accuse Iran of clandestinely pursuing nuclear weapons, although the Islamic republic insists on the peaceful nature of its nuclear program.

Netanyahu told delegates at the annual meeting of the assembly that Iran could have enough material to make a nuclear bomb by the middle of next year and a clear message needed to be sent to stop Tehran in its tracks.

"At stake is the future of the world," Netanyahu said. "Nothing could imperil our future more than an Iran armed with nuclear weapons."

The Israeli premier showed a display on Iran's stages to a nuclear bomb. The display shows three levels with 70 percent, then 90 percent, and the "final stage."

"They are 70 percent of the way there. Now they are well into the second stage. By next spring, at most by next summer at current enrichment rates, they will have finished the medium enrichment and move on to the final stage," he explained.

Pointing to a red line he drew on graphic of bomb used to represent Iran's nuclear program, Netanyahu said, "from there, it's only a few months, possibly a few weeks before they get enough enriched uranium for the first bomb."

According to him, if these are the facts, the red line should be drawn before the "final stage" and faced with a clear red line, Iran will back down.

"Red lines don't lead to war, red lines prevent war," he said.

Netanyahu also noted that his country and the United States are in discussion about the Iranian nuclear issue and can chart a path forward together.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu said that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' speech at the UN was "libelous," and not a way to bring peace.

Earlier at the debate, Abbas said that Israel rejects the "two-state solution" for peace.

"President Abbas just spoke here," Netanyahu said. "I say to him and I say to you, we won't solve our conflict with libelous speeches at the UN ... We won't solve our conflict with unilateral declarations of statehood."