Pressure should be placed on Iran as forcefully, as openly, and in as a determined fashion as it is put now, for example, on Libya.
YouTube World View interview with PM Netanyahu (30 Mar 2011):
For 15 years I’ve been talking to the world about the danger of Iran arming itself with nuclear weapons. What nuclear terrorism we could have, how they can control the world’s oil supply. They threaten my country with obliteration, but they’ll threaten many others. And you try, and you try, and you try. There’s some progress, I don’t want to say that there isn’t, but not the kind of mobilization that is required against something so great.
The greatest mission that we have is to prevent a militant Islamic regime from meeting up with nuclear weapons or from nuclear weapons meeting up with a militant Islamic regime. The first is called Iran, the second is called Pakistan, or more specifically a Taliban takeover of Pakistan. Because if these radical regimes have nuclear weapons, they will not obey the rules that have been obeyed in the last almost seven decades. And they can threaten our world. So the first thing is to stop them from getting nuclear weapons.
Address by PM Netanyahu to JNF Conference (28 Mar 2011):
Where did the convulsion in the Middle East begin? It didn’t begin in Tunis; it began a year and a half ago in Tehran. There the multitudes stormed the streets protesting, demanding freedom after a fake election, after the election was stolen from them. They wanted basic human rights; they wanted freedom from tyranny and from corruption. That’s where it began. Then it bounced to Tunis; and then it bounced to Egypt; and then it bounced to other parts: Yemen, Libya, Syria and so on, Bahrain. But it began in Tehran.
What happened in Tehran is that the Ayatollah regime used brutal suppression to squelch the protests. The same is true of its proxies in Lebanon and in Gaza. They use brutal powers to squelch protest, to prevent it from materializing or expanding.
One of the things that we have to assure is that Iran is not immune to the international pressures for change, and that could be done more effectively by still stronger sanctions, and especially those measures that prevent the worst outcome of all – a turbulent, unstable Middle East, an Iran that exports revolutions and subversion, seeking to form militant Islamic regimes in all these countries, or in as many as they can. That’s what they’re doing. But the worst outcome of all is that Iran would be doing this with a nuclear umbrella, with nuclear weapons.
So the second thing that has to be done is to put maximum pressure on the main engine that drives Islamic militancy in this region, and that is pressure on Iran, and above all, to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons. That should be a main goal for all civilized society.
From interview with PM Netanyahu on CNN – Piers Morgan Tonight (17 Mar 2011):
Everybody is suffering from this revolution from the Khyber Pass to the Straits of Gibraltar, this groundswell, this earthquake, this sandstorm, volcanic eruptions. But the worst is that Iran, where this all started, stays immune to it, continues its repressive, brutal regime, develops nuclear weapons, exports terrorism everywhere. And meddles in the other places and transforms them into so-called Islamist republics. I would say that is the worst nightmare.
MORGAN: You refer regularly to Iran. Everybody knows your view about Iran. That they believe in the extermination of all things Israel.
PM NETANYAHU: It is not only that they believe it. It is look at what they are doing, now.
MORGAN: But what about flipping it on its head and saying, what are you doing about that? Given that you know that is their position? I mean, rather than wait for other countries to intervene on your behalf. What is Israel actually doing right now to combat this incredibly serious threat?
PM NETANYAHU: Well, the first thing I have been trying to do – for a long time, for about 15 years. I was elected the first time about 15 years ago. And I went to speak before the joint session of the U.S. Congress. I said that the single greatest threat facing the world, and my own country, was the arming of Iran with nuclear weapons. And since then what I have been trying to do is alert the world and the leaders of the world that it is not merely our problem, that it is their problem. Because Iran today is in Afghanistan, it is in Iraq, it has gotten control of Lebanon. It has gotten control of half the Palestinian –
MORGAN: Does it have nuclear weapons, do you think?
PM NETANYAHU: It is working to get them.
MORGAN: How close do you think they are?
PM NETANYAHU: I think they are getting a lot closer.
MORGAN: Should they be transparent about their nuclear program?
PM NETANYAHU: Even to the extent that they are transparent it is very clear what they are doing? They are-they have enriched enough material now almost for three nuclear bombs. They still have to re-enrich it again, but that is what they are doing. They are building long-range ICBMs, not only to reach us, ICBMs, they don’t need that.
MORGAN: When we last saw this threat from a leader in the Middle East it was Saddam Hussein. It turned out that the weapons of mass destruction didn’t exist, but there was a perceived threat that he had them. We’re in a similar position with Iran, aren’t we? What does the world do about Iran?
PM NETANYAHU: No, we are not. We’re not. First of all, Saddam Hussein did build a nuclear weapons plant. It was called Osiraq, and we took it out, in 1981; probably one of the greatest acts of nuclear non-proliferation in modern times. But now, afterwards, it wasn’t clear if he recovered that or not, and as it turned out he didn’t. This is very different in the case of Iran. Ahmadinejad is taking people on guided tours of these centrifuge halls.
MORGAN: Why is nobody doing anything about it?
PM NETANYAHU: They are trying, with sanctions, tough sanctions.
MORGAN: He doesn’t care about sanctions, does he?
PM NETANYAHU: It is not only him. It is his boss. He’s not the boss. The boss is Khameini, who has a passion against the West, a passion against our society.
MORGAN: What is the answer, Prime Minister? What do you do about this country which is apparently arming itself to the teeth, possibly getting nuclear weapons? And you are its number one target. What are you doing about it?
PM NETANYAHU: Well, one of the things that we are telling people is that sanctions by themselves are not going to be enough. That the only thing that will work is if Iran knew that if sanctions fair there will be a credible military option. This is not just our problem, this is the problem of Europe, and the United States.
MORGAN: Are you talking United Nations?
PM NETANYAHU: I’m talking about a credible military action.
MORGAN: Led by who?
PM NETANYAHU: Led by preferably by the United States. It is not that complicated. It could be done. It is not easy, but it is not impossible. And here is the paradox. The paradox is that if you had a credible military option you probably wouldn’t have to use it. Because the one time that the Iranians backed off-in the 15 years that I’ve been talking about this-that they backed off and actually stopped their nuclear program, was in 2003 when they thought that the United States, following its actions in Afghanistan and Iraq, would take action against them.
MORGAN: But what is credible military action against Iran? What does that constitute?
PM NETANYAHU: It means action that will knock out their nuclear facility and (inaudible)…
MORGAN: (Inaudible) could you contemplate some kind of land invasion?
PM NETANYAHU: Well, I think the United States has proven great effectiveness and I’m going to divulge a secret to you about their capabilities. They’re actually greater than ours. I mean, the American Air Force and the American Army is bigger than the Israeli Army and they’re absolutely…
MORGAN: But if for whatever reason the Americans choose not to do this, the threat still remains and you’re still the number one target, would you act unilaterally militarily?
PM NETANYAHU: No. We always reserve the right to defend ourselves. That’s been one of the tragedies of Jewish history that the Jewish people were thrust into a state of defenselessness we were attacked again and again and again with viciousness and never had the capacity to defend ourselves. We now have that capacity.
MORGAN: Is it right to expect countries like Iran to be transparent about their own nuclear programs if you’re not transparent yourself?
PM NETANYAHU: Iran is a signatory to the NPT. I mean this is the absurd thing. Everybody says take the Nonproliferation Treaty and expand it and bring Israel into it. No, the problem in the Middle East is not that other countries don’t join it, it’s that those countries who join the Nonproliferation Treaty have violated left and right beginning with the Iraq under Saddam Hussein going on to Libya, Syria recently – they’re all signatories of the NPT. They all developed nuclear weapons programs. Syria just did that and was exposed and Iran is doing it every day. So they’re all…
MORGAN: Do you think it’s a bit of a sham?
PM NETANYAHU: I think it’s ridiculous. I think the problem of the Middle East is one that the signatories of the NPT violated and secondly that they’re focusing their attention on Israel when the problem in the Middle East is this tyrannical medieval regime, terrorist regime of Iran in which the moullahs and the ayatollahs want nuclear weapons with which they openly threaten to make another holocaust, to wipe out the Jewish state. But that’s just for starters. They say that we’re the small Satan, that the United States is a great Satan and I suppose Europe, I don’t want you to be offended, Europe’s sort of a middle – middle sized Satan. All of these have to be dominated, obliterated, terrorized, and they’re actually true to their word.
I think this fanatic ideology armed with nuclear weapons is the single greatest threat to the peace of the world, to the peace not only of Jerusalem but of London, Berlin, Paris. And New York.
MORGAN: Given the gravity of the threat from Iran, if America has not taken military action within say, the next five years, is it conceivable that Israel will not have done anything?
PM NETANYAHU: We always reserve the right to defend ourselves.
I think that if we could neutralize Iran, defang it from its nuclear capability, we’ll have a lot greater chance and moving peace between Israel and the Palestinians and Israel and the rest of the Arab world.
If Iran goes, we’ll have a brilliant future goes with all the difficulties. If it doesn’t, we’ll have to create a defensible and secure peace but protect ourselves from the worst.
PM Netanyahu’s remarks at the display of weaponry from the Victoria (16 Mar 2011):
The deadly weaponry that you see here originated in Iran. We see the writing. Defense Minister Ehud Barak is holding, in a plastic bag, a greeting written in Farsi, for using some of these weapons. They originate in Iran. They passed through Syria and were en route to terrorists in the Gaza Strip. But, as has been said, their final objective was Israeli citizens. We have already experienced and been hit by thousands, if not tens of thousands, of rockets, missiles and mortar rounds, which have already been fired at Israeli citizens.
Every day, Iran, Syria, Hizbullah, Hamas and other terrorist elements are making efforts to smuggle weapons into Lebanon and Gaza.This is the axis of terrorism: Iran, Syria, Hizbullah, Hamas and the other terrorist organizations. This is the axis of terrorism in our region and this is the axis of terrorism that we have to deal with and, in the end, break. It is our desire to prevent terrorism, maintain security and create here a chance for peace.
DM Barak at the display of weaponry from the Victoria (16 Mar 2011):
We are dealing with an axis that consists of Iran, Syria and Hizbullah trying to strengthen terrorist operatives in the Gaza Strip. The aerial struggle against them continues as well as those at sea, on land and in every place and every direction both near and far. It will continue and id a crucial battle.
PM Netanyahu (15 Mar 2011):
The weaponry originated in Iran, which is continuing to try and arm terrorist forces that operate against the State of Israel. It is our right and our duty to do our utmost to stop this supply effort. We can say for certain is that the weaponry originated in Iran, which has a relay station in Syria. This is the main axis that also supplies terrorist forces in Lebanon, Hizbullah, and terrorist forces in Gaza.
PM Netanyahu at press conference with Chilean President (6 Mar 2011):
We are concerned with the possibility that one country, Iran, will be immune to all the pressures of democratization; will continue to butcher its people; will continue to abuse human rights, women, gays; and will continue to propel terrorism and violence and instability to the rest of the world, including your part of the world.
Therefore we think that pressure should be placed on Iran as forcefully, as openly, and in as a determined fashion as it is put now, for example, on Libya. If there are calls to put Libya, and Libya’s leader and his generals on a watch list of human-rights violators, who could be held responsible for international crimes, there is no reason why Iran should be exempted from that, because they are doing exactly the same thing as we speak.
We believe that containing Iran’s aggression, containing and stopping also its nuclear program, is essential for the stability of the world and for the advancement of peace and democracy in our region and beyond our region. So I was very glad to hear your firm stance on the need to stop Iran and its nuclear program. I think this is important. I know that Chile will take an important role in this vital international struggle.
PM Netanyahu at Cabinet meeting (6 Mar 2011):
… There is another regime that massacres its people, tramples human rights and exports terrorism around the world, and this regime is developing nuclear weapons. This regime is that of the ayatollahs in Iran. And to the same degree that there is moral clarity today regarding the need to warn the Libyan ruler and his people against perpetrating crimes against humanity and abusing its people, I think that there must be the same determined international action against the tyrannical and brutal regime in Iran. This is not just for the rights of the Iranian people but for the security of the entire world.