Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu urged the world to maintain pressure on Iran over its nuclear program in a speech Tuesday to the United Nations.
Diplomacy can work, he said, but only if the international community takes a firm stance. “We all want to give diplomacy with Iran a chance to succeed,” he said. “But when it comes to Iran, the greater the pressure, the greater the chance.”
“History has taught us that to prevent war tomorrow, we must be firm today,” he noted.
Netanyahu reminded those present of the bloody wars of the twentieth century that resulted from fanatical leaders gaining power.
“The world may have forgotten this lesson. The Jewish people have not,” he declared.
“Iran’s fanaticism is not bluster. It’s real. This fanatical regime must not be allowed to arm itself with nuclear weapons,” he warned.
If all else fails, he hinted, Israel may attack Iran without international support. "If Israel is forced to stand alone, Israel will stand alone," he said.
The only diplomatic solution that could work would be one that fully dismantles Iran’s nuclear program, Netanyahu said. He listed a series of steps Iran would have to follow: the cessation of all uranium enrichment, the removal from Iranian territory of stored enriched uranium, the dismantling of facilities capable of turning enriched uranium into a weapon, and the shutdown of the heavy-water reactor at Arak.
He noted that Iranian leaders themselves have stated in the past that a country that can enrich uranium to 3.5% will also be able to enrich it to 90%, and from there to create nuclear weapons. “This is why the pressure on Iran must continue,” he said.
Netanyahu also suggested a list of steps for the world to follow. “First, keep up the sanctions,” he urged.
“Second, don’t agree to a partial deal,” he continued. The international community must not lift sanctions that it took years to impose in exchange for cosmetic changes on Iran’s part that can be reversed within weeks, he warned.
Third, he said, sanctions should be lifted only when Iran’s nuclear weapons program is fully dismantled.
“The international community has Iran on the ropes,” Netanyahu told the UN assembly. “If you want to knock out Iran’s nuclear weapons program peacefully, don’t let up the pressure.”