Israeli PM warns UN nuclear Iran needs 'red line'

By Jennifer Lipman, September 28, 2012
Benjamin Netanyahu with a visual aid showing Israel's 'red line' on Iran

Benjamin Netanyahu with a visual aid showing Israel's 'red line' on Iran

Israel's Prime Minister warned the United Nations General Assembly today that without a defined "red line", Iran could have nuclear capabilities by next summer.

Benjamin Netanyahu used a cartoon of a bomb with a red line drawn on it to show that Iran was on track to have enough enriched uranium to make a nuclear device within the next 12 months. "They are 70 per cent of the way there," he warned.

"Nothing could imperil the world more than a nuclear-armed Iran," he said, brandishing a sketch explaining Iran's progress. "Given this record of Iranian aggression without nuclear weapons, just imagine Iranian aggression with nuclear weapons,"

Meanwhile, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of ethnic cleansing by way of settlement construction, a statement which Mr Netanyahu later said was libellous.

Mr Abbas, speaking before Mr Netanyahu, told the chamber he was "speaking on behalf of an angry people."

He said: "Israel gets rewarded while it continues the policies of war, occupation and settlements."

He also said that he had begun discussions on a second bid for UN recognition for the Palestinians, which is understood to refer to an application for nonmember state status

He said the bid, due be put forward by the end of November, was not about "seeking to delegitimise Israel, but rather establish a state that should be established: Palestine".

He urged leaders to "support the establishment of the free state of Palestine now, and let peace win before it's too late".

Discussing both addresses, Abraham Foxman, director of the US hate monitor the Anti-Defamation League, said there was "a stark contrast between President Abbas' rejectionist approach and Prime Minister Netanyahu's ongoing commitment to reach a negotiated resolution of the conflict".

He added: "The international community must send a clear message to President Abbas that false accusations and unilateral steps are not the path to Palestinian statehood."

Last updated: 5:44pm, September 28 2012