Israel reserves unilateral option in standoff on Iranian nukes: Netanyahu
By Tim Witcher, AFPUNITED NATIONS--Israel is ready to act “alone” to stop Iran making a nuclear bomb, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday in a hard-line warning against rushing into deals with the new leadership in Tehran.
October 3, 2013, 12:11 am TWN
“Israel will not allow Iran to get nuclear weapons. If Israel is forced to stand alone, Israel will stand alone,” Netanyahu told a U.N. summit in a fierce attack on overtures made by Iran's President Hasan Rouhani.
Netanyahu linked Rouhani, who held a landmark conversation with U.S. President Barack Obama while in New York last week, to past militant attacks blamed on Iran.
“He fooled the world once. Now he thinks he can fool it again. You see, Rouhani thinks he can have his yellow cake and eat it too,” Netanyahu said in a speech in which he demanded that sanctions be maintained.
Last year Netanyahu used a cartoon drawing of a bomb to illustrate his warning at the U.N. that Iran was close to the nuclear bomb threshold.
There was no repeat this time, but Iran immediately condemned Netanyahu's comments as “saber-rattling” and renewed its denial of Western accusations that it seeks a nuclear bomb.
“I wish I could believe Rouhani. But I don't,” Netanyahu said.
“Iran wants to be in a position to rush forward to build nuclear bombs before the international community can detect it and much less prevent it,” he alleged.
A nuclear-armed Iran would be a bigger threat than North Korea, Netanyahu added.
“As dangerous as a nuclear-armed North Korea is, it pales in comparison to the danger of a nuclear-armed Iran,” he said.
“A nuclear-armed Iran in the Middle East wouldn't be another North Korea — it would be another 50 North Koreas.”
North Korea, which like Iran faces wide-ranging U.N. sanctions over its nuclear program, is believed to have several nuclear bombs and to have shared technology with Iran.
Netanyahu gave a stark challenge to the international powers who have broadly welcomed the apparent change announced by Rouhani, while warning that they are also looking for concrete signs of cooperation from Tehran.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the 68th session of the General Assembly at United Nations headquarters on Tuesday, Oct. 1.