Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is drawing widespread attention for his speech before the United Nations General Assembly Thursday when he literally drew a red line over Iran’s nuclear program. Netanyahu has repeatedly called for a “red line” that would trigger military action against Iran if crossed. During his address, Netanyahu pulled out a cartoonish diagram of a bomb with a fuse to help illustrate Iran’s alleged progress toward a nuclear weapon.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “This is a bomb. This is a fuse. In the case of Iran’s nuclear plans to build a bomb, this bomb has to be filled with enough enriched uranium. And Iran has to go through three stages. 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. From there, it’s only a few months, possibly a few weeks, before they get enough enriched uranium for the first bomb. A red line should be drawn right here, before — before Iran completes the second stage of nuclear enrichment necessary to make a bomb.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu has made previous claims about the supposed urgency of Iran’s nuclear plans in a bid to spur U.S.-led international action. In 1992 — 20 years ago — Netanyahu said that Iran was just three to five years from developing a nuclear weapon. Iran meanwhile has repeatedly said its nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes. Responding to Netanyahu’s speech, Iran said it is strong enough to defend itself and reserved the right to retaliate if attacked.