The only diplomatic solution that would work is one that fully dismantles Iran’s nuclear weapons program and prevents it from having one in the future.
PM Netanyahu at Cabinet meeting (20 Oct 2013):
"Last week saw the start of an additional round of talks between the major powers and Iran. We must not forget that the Iranian regime has systematically misled the international community. In 2006, Iran had 167 centrifuges. Today, despite all the bans and all the promises, they have over 18,000 centrifuges, i.e. the number of centrifuges has increased over a hundred-fold during the talks in which they have been called upon to halt the production of centrifuges related to enrichment.
Despite strong UN Security Council decisions that bar them from this enrichment process and from producing centrifuges – they are continuing. I think that in this situation as long as we do not see actions instead of words, the international pressure must continue to be applied and even increased. The greater the pressure, the greater the chance that there will be a genuine dismantling of the Iranian military nuclear program. If the pressure is reduced, the chance will be accordingly smaller.
I would also like to reiterate that there is a danger of granting international legitimacy to a recalcitrant regime that is now participating in the mass slaughter of civilians – men, women and children – in Syria and has done so over the past two years, a regime that is currently continuing a constant campaign of terrorism on five continents, a regime that calls for the destruction of Israel and which ignores and grossly violates the decisions of the UN Security Council on the nuclear issue. I think that the correct approach toward such a regime is to be wary and increase the pressure."
PM Netanyahu addresses Knesset (14 Oct 2013):
Last week saw the start of an additional round of talks between the major powers and Iran. We must not forget that the Iranian regime has systematically misled the international community. In 2006, Iran had 167 centrifuges. Today, despite all the bans and all the promises, they have over 18,000 centrifuges, i.e. the number of centrifuges has increased over a hundred-fold during the talks in which they have been called upon to halt the production of centrifuges related to enrichment. Despite strong UN Security Council decisions that bar them from this enrichment process and from producing centrifuges – they are continuing. I think that in this situation as long as we do not see actions instead of words, the international pressure must continue to be applied and even increased. The greater the pressure, the greater the chance that there will be a genuine dismantling of the Iranian military nuclear program. If the pressure is reduced, the chance will be accordingly smaller. I would also like to reiterate that there is a danger of granting international legitimacy to a recalcitrant regime that is now participating in the mass slaughter of civilians – men, women and children – in Syria and has done so over the past two years, a regime that is currently continuing a constant campaign of terrorism on five continents, a regime that calls for the destruction of Israel and which ignores and grossly violates the decisions of the UN Security Council on the nuclear issue. I think that the correct approach toward such a regime is to be wary and increase the pressure.
It would be a historic mistake to relax the pressure on Iran now, a moment before the sanctions achieve their goal. There can be no giving in at this time and the pressure must be continued. It must be remembered that it is international pressure which has led to internal change in Iran, which has led the Iranians to any concessions at all and to the negotiating table, and which can bring them to make tangible concessions on their military nuclear program.
I will tell you something that goes against the accepted view – easing the pressure will not strengthen moderate trends in Iran. On the contrary, it will strengthen the uncompromising views of the real ruler of Iran, the Ayatollah Khamenei, and will be seen as a significant victory by him.
I think that many in the world understand that nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran endanger not only Israel. Iran is continuing, unhindered, to develop inter-continental missiles that are capable of carrying nuclear warheads. These missiles can reach all parts of the Middle East, Europe, the US and other parts of the world as well. The entire region, and the peace of the world, would be in great danger. The Iranians openly declare that this is their intention and therefore, Israel will not allow Iran, which champions our destruction, to achieve nuclear weapons.
I would like to ask you what the international reaction would be if Syria were to offer to dismantle only 20% of its chemical weapons and retain the rest? This is exactly what Iran is proposing. Just as it must be ensured that Syria does not lead the international community astray, and completely dismantles its chemical weapons, so too must Iran not be allowed to continue its military nuclear program and retain its ability to break through to nuclear weapons.
President Peres addresses Knesset (14 Oct 2013):
"Iran is a threat to world peace, it destabilizes the region and threatens Israel. The world must judge Iran by deeds and not words, even if the words sound sweet to ears used to hearing Ahmadinejad. The deeds must be reliable, transparent, not partial and not delayed. Their outcome must be the end of Iran’s ability to produce nuclear weapons; Iran must stop building its long range missiles which are built to carry nuclear warheads into the heart of Europe and even the east coast of the United States. These missiles have no peaceful or civilian purpose; they only carry a nuclear threat. The economic sanctions must continue alongside all other credible options.
The threat is real. The danger is real. Action must be demanded of Iran. President Obama’s stance is clear, unambiguous and uncompromising, and we should relate to it as such. It is not the Iranian people but the Iranian regime which is the threat. The regime made its intention to destroy Israel clear. The regime supports Hezbollah, Hamas and the blood-soaked regime in Syria. The regime of the Ayatollah’s is a threat to Israel but a danger to the entire world."
PM Netanyahu at Greece-Israel G2G signing ceremony (8 Oct 2013):
"….The greatest threat to peace and security of the region and of our world is Iran’s pursuit of its nuclear weapons program. Iran’s presidents might change, but that country’s nuclear program continues to expand. That is because the real leader of Iran, the real ruler of Iran, the so-called Supreme Leader, is committed to getting nuclear weapons. And unfortunately, the only tangible result from the P5+1 talks, the five countries that have been talking with Iran, talks that have been resumed a year and a half ago, the only tangible result of the P5+1 is that Iran has managed to buy more time and to advance in this time its program to develop nuclear weapons.
In parallel, the Iranian regime continues to plan and conduct terrorism across the globe, including an attempt through its own agencies and its proxies in various countries in Europe: an attempt in Cyprus, a successful murder, unfortunately, in Bulgaria, terrorism across the globe. This is what Iran continues to do today, and in Syria it participates in the mass murder of tens of thousands of men, women and children.
Today, the Iranian regime seeks a partial agreement that will ease the sanctions, these sanctions have greatly hurt the Iranian economy. Of course what they want is merely the relaxation of sanctions without the real cessation of Iran’s program to develop military nuclear capability. That is unacceptable. The sanctions must be continued, they must be strengthened until the Iranian military nuclear program is dismantled.
What does it require, to dismantle the Iranian nuclear program? It requires ending enrichment and ending the plutonium route. There are many countries that have civilian nuclear energy. I met yesterday with the President of the Czech Republic. They have nuclear energy. They have many reactors. But they don’t have heavy water plutonium reactors, which are only used for weapons, and they don’t have centrifuges for enrichment, because that’s what you need to make weapons.
What does Iran insist on? Centrifuges for enrichment and plutonium reactors. They don’t need it and they shouldn’t have it. A regime that has violated every UN resolution, that participates in mass murder in Syria, that continues terrorism around the world, doesn’t have a right to enrich. Especially since it’s very clear that they are seeking nuclear weapons.
So, I think that there’s nothing wrong with diplomacy if it achieves a good deal. But a bad deal is worse than no deal. And a bad deal is a partial deal that removes the sanctions, or most of them, and leaves Iran with the capacity to enrich uranium and pursue the plutonium route to nuclear bombs.
I believe that this is understood more broadly, more deeply in the international community than is commonly thought, and I think this should be the position of the international community, because Iran’s nuclear weapons program must be stopped…."
PM Netanyahu at Bar Ilan University (6 Oct 2013):
Israel and the United States agree that Iran must be prevented from arming itself with nuclear weapons. Just days ago, the Iranian president said at the UN that Iran is only interested in civilian nuclear power. That’s what he said.
I do not believe him, but anyone interested in examining his statement should ask the Iranian regime one simple question – if you only want peaceful nuclear energy, why do you insist on centrifuges to enrich uranium and on plutonium reactors? Neither of these things is necessary to produce peaceful nuclear energy.
Only someone who wants to produce fissile material for nuclear bombs insists on these components – not only insists, but is willing to inflict great suffering on his people because this insistence involves sanctions and dictates by the Security Council.
Therefore, the international community should take the following position vis-à-vis Iran – we are ready to reach a diplomatic resolution, but only one that dismantles Iran’s ability to produce nuclear weapons. In other words, no centrifuges or enriched uranium, no plutonium reactor. As long as Iran does not dismantle its centrifuges and plutonium reactors, the sanctions must not be eased at all. On the contrary, they should be increased.
The truth is simple, it is clear, it cuts like a razor through the fog they are trying to create. If their intentions are peaceful, they will agree. If they are not peaceful, they will not agree.
PM Netanyahu at Cabinet meeting (6 Oct 2013):
"The main thing that we are working to achieve is to prevent Iran’s enrichment capability. We do not oppose diplomatic negotiations with Iran. We insist that these negotiations lead to the dismantling of Iran’s enrichment capability. Iran claims that it wants this for nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. …Enrichment is a main process in producing fissionable material for nuclear bombs. Whoever does not want fissionable material and nuclear bombs does not insist on enrichment; therefore, Iran must not be allowed to have an enrichment capability. This is the most important point.
The sanctions on Iran are working. They are very strong; they are a moment away from achieving their goal. The sanctions must not be eased before the goal of dismantling Iran’s enrichment capability, in effect, the ability to produce nuclear weapons, is achieved. This was the focus of the talks. There were other issues as well which I will discuss in the appropriate forums."
PM Netanyahu on return from US (4 Oct 2013):
"We are engaged in a comprehensive international struggle against the Iranian nuclear program. Next week I will meet with leaders of European countries and I will speak with other world leaders. I will emphasize the fact that the sanctions on Iran can achieve the desired result if they are continued. The world must not be tempted by the Iranian stratagem into easing sanctions as long as the Iranians do not dismantle their military nuclear program."
PM Netanyahu interview on Univision TV (2 Oct 2013)
"Iran directly threatens the annihilation of the state of Israel. They talk about it openly, they’re trying to develop nuclear weapons to wipe us off the map, but they’re not only threatening us. They’re building ICBM’s, intercontinental ballistic missiles. They have already missiles that can reach Israel; they’re building these long range intercontinental missiles to reach the United States. And they want to arm them with nuclear weapons."
PM Netanyahu interview on NBC TV (2 Oct 2013)
"He [Iranian President Hassan Rouhani] talks about his revere for democracy in Iran, he tweets here in the United States but they don’t let the Iranian people use Twitter. He talks about the scourge of terrorism. Iran conducts, as we speak now, terrorist operations in dozens of countries. He speaks of the tragedy in Syria, Iran’s forces help Assad perpetrate the massacre of tens of thousands of men, women and children as we speak. It’s one thing to say one thing, it’s another thing what they do, and I look at what they do, not what they say."
Excerpts from PM Netanyahu’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly (1 Oct 2013)
1. He [Iranian President Rouhani] masterminded the strategy which enabled Iran to advance its nuclear weapons program behind a smokescreen of diplomatic engagement and very soothing rhetoric.
2. Ahmadinejad was a wolf in wolf’s clothing and Rouhani is a wolf in sheep’s clothing – a wolf who thinks he can pull the wool over the eyes of the international community.
3. A nuclear-armed Iran would have a chokehold on the world’s main energy supplies. It would trigger nuclear proliferation throughout the Middle East…it would make the specter of nuclear terrorism a clear and present danger.
4. Like everyone else, I wish we could believe Rouhani’s words. But we must focus on Iran’s actions. We all want to give diplomacy with Iran a chance to succeed. But when it comes to Iran, the greater the pressure, the greater the chance. If you want to knockout Iran’s nuclear weapons program peacefully, don’t let up the pressure. Keep it up.
5. To be meaningful, a diplomatic solution would require Iran to do four things.
- First, cease all uranium enrichment. This is called for by several Security Council resolutions.
- Second, remove from its territory the stockpiles of enriched uranium.
- Third, dismantle the infrastructure for a nuclear breakout capability, including the underground facility near Qom and the advanced centrifuges in Natanz.
- And four, stop all work at the heavy water reactor in Arak aimed at the production of plutonium.
6. The only diplomatic solution that would work is one that fully dismantles Iran’s nuclear weapons program and prevents it from having one in the future. So here’s what the international community must do:
- First, keep up the sanctions. If Iran advances its nuclear weapons program during negotiations, strengthen the sanctions.
- Second, don’t agree to a partial deal. A partial deal would lift international sanctions that have taken years to put in place in exchange for cosmetic concessions that will take only weeks for Iran to reverse.
- Third, lift the sanctions only when Iran fully dismantles its nuclear weapons program.
7. Israel will not allow Iran to get nuclear weapons. If Israel is forced to stand alone, Israel will stand alone. Yet in standing alone, Israel will know that we will be defending many, many others.
Address by President Peres to the Dutch Parliament (Oct 1, 2013)
President Obama has engaged the United States as well as the European Union, among others, to impose sanctions upon Iran, in order to stop it from building nuclear weapons. The coalition preferred, rightly, to start with diplomacy while the military option remains.
The end of the Iranian nuclear threat, as well as the end of Iran being a centre of terror is the right way to keep the world free and secure. The sanctions led so far to the new tone of Iran.
President Rouhani’s address to the United Nations must stand the test of real implementation. Today it is just a declaration, in a rhetoric competition.
Furthermore, the realities of today in Iran are in stark contradiction to his address. The construction of a nuclear bomb is a fact not a phrase. The building of long range missiles capable, of carrying nuclear warheads continues. It is a danger to the entire world. Nobody on earth threatens Iran’s existence.
Meanwhile Iran is building a nuclear bomb. Spreading terror remains a menace to the entire world.
Historically the Jewish people knew friendship with Iran. The Iranian threat began when Khomeini took power. It is up to his successors to bring an end to it.
President Rouhani wants the sanctions to be reduced right away so to ease the Iranian economic crisis. Actually, Iran herself can improve her economy by ending the waste of money spent on building military nuclear reactors and military nuclear long-range missiles.
PM Netanyahu after meeting with US President Obama (30 Sept 2013)
The most important challenge is preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons. … Iran’s conciliatory words have to be matched by real actions – transparent, verifiable, meaningful actions.
Iran is committed to Israel’s destruction. So for Israel, the ultimate test of a future agreement with Iran is whether or not Iran dismantles its military nuclear program.
In this regard, I want to express my appreciation to you for the enormous work that’s been done to have a sanctions regime in place to thwart Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. I believe that it’s the combination of a credible military threat and the pressure of those sanctions that has brought Iran to the negotiating table.
I also believe that if diplomacy is to work, those pressures must be kept in place. And I think that they should not be lessened until there is verifiable success. And, in fact, it is Israel’s firm belief that if Iran continues to advance its nuclear program during negotiations, the sanctions should be strengthened. It’s the combination, I believe, that has guided your policy and our policy so far, that is good credible military threat and strong sanctions I think is still the only formula that can get a peaceful resolution of this problem.
PM Netanyahu on speech by Iranian President Rouhani at the UNGA (25 Sept 2013)
As expected, this was a cynical speech that was full of hypocrisy. Rouhani spoke of human rights even as Iranian forces are participating in the large-scale slaughter of innocent civilians in Syria. He condemned terrorism even as the Iranian regime is using terrorism in dozens of countries around the world.
He spoke of a nuclear program for civilian purposes even as an IAEA report determines that the program has military dimensions and when any rational person understands that Iran, one of the most oil-rich nations, is not investing capital in ballistic missiles and underground nuclear facilities in order to produce electricity.
It is no coincidence that the speech lacked both any practical proposal to stop Iran’s military nuclear program and any commitment to fulfill UN Security Council decisions.
This is exactly Iran’s strategy – to talk and play for time in order to advance its ability to achieve nuclear weapons. Rouhani knows this well. He bragged that a decade ago, he succeeded in misleading the West so that while Iran was holding talks, it simultaneously advanced its nuclear program. The international community must test Iran not by its words but by its actions.
[On the instruction of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli delegation to the United Nations absented itself from Rouhani’s speech in order not to grant legitimacy to a regime that does not recognize the existence of the Holocaust and which publicly declares its desire to wipe the State of Israel off the map.]
As the Prime Minister of Israel, the state of the Jewish people, I could not allow the Israeli delegation to be part of a cynical public relations ploy by a regime that denies the Holocaust and calls for our destruction.
Just last week, Rouhani, like Ahmadinejad before him, refused to recognize the Holocaust as an historical fact.
When Iran’s leaders stop denying the Holocaust of the Jewish people, and stop calling for the destruction of the Jewish state and recognize Israel’s right to exist, the Israeli delegation will attend their addresses at the General Assembly.