NY Times: Netanyahu Speech 'Exploitative Theater'

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's speech on Iran 'offered nothing of substance that was new,' the New York Times intoned Thursday.

Moshe Cohen ,

Bushehr nuclear reactor
Bushehr nuclear reactor

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's speech on Iran made for great “exploitative political theater” rarely seen in Washington, but it “offered nothing of substance that was new” in what to do about the Iran nuclear issue, the New York Times Editorial Board said Thursday. Netanyahu “offered no new insight on Iran and no new reasons to reject the agreement being negotiated with Iran by the United States and five other major powers to constrain Iran’s nuclear program,” the editorial said.

The Times took exception with the two main planks of Netanyahu's speech – his objection to Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons, and the anti-Western and terror-supporting activities of the Iranian regime. Much better, the paper recommends, would be working with Iran and attempting to co-opt them while carefully monitoring their nuclear program.

It actually is the only solution, the Times said; even if Iran's nuclear facilities were to be destroyed altogether, it wouldn't stop Tehran from moving forward on nuclear weapons, because “Iran and its scientists have acquired the nuclear know-how over the past six decades to rebuild the program in a couple of years.”

“The one approach that might constrain Iran is tough negotiations, which the United States and its partners Britain, France, China, Germany and Russia have rightly committed to,” the editorial said. “If an agreement comes together, it would establish verifiable limits on the nuclear program that do not now exist and ensure that Iran could not quickly produce enough weapons-usable material for a bomb. The major benefit for Iran is that it would gradually be freed of many of the onerous international sanctions that have helped cripple its economy.”

Regarding Iran's international misbehavior, supporting terrorists in Lebanon, Gaza, and Yemen, the Times argued that it's actually the fault of the U.S. - and especially Netanyahu. “A major reason for Iran’s growing regional role is the American-led war that toppled Saddam Hussein in Iraq, which Mr. Netanyahu supported, although he was not prime minister at the time,” the editorial said. “Iran’s behavior is often threatening and reprehensible, and that is precisely why Mr. Obama has invested so much energy in trying to find a negotiated solution.”