Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the Conference of Presidents
A day after diplomats from the UN’s nuclear watchdog indicated Iran had begun converting a small amount of enriched uranium into nuclear fuel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tehran was continuing its drive to a nuclear bomb unabated.
Speaking to a group of American Jewish leaders, Netanyahu said Iran was nearing an irreversible “red line” and that, if not stopped, the country would soon be able to arm a nuclear warhead.
Iran’s nuclear weapons program “continues unabated. It’s focused on enrichment because if they could continue and complete enrichment of highly enriched uranium then they’ll have enough to produce enough material to produce a nuclear bomb,” the prime minister told a delegation from the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
“I drew a line at the UN, last time I was there [in the fall],” Netanyahu continued. “They haven’t crossed that line, but what they’re doing is to shorten the time that it would take them to cross that line. And the way they’re shortening that time is by putting in new, faster centrifuges that cut the time by one third. So that Iran is putting itself in a position to cross the red line and have enough material to produce one nuclear bomb’s worth of highly enriched uranium.
“This has to be stopped. For the interest of peace and security, for the interests of the entire world,” he said. “How do you stop it? Well, you have to put greater pressure on them. You have to upgrade the sanctions. And they have to know that if the sanctions and the diplomacy fails, they face a credible military threat. That’s essential. Nothing else will do the job. And it’s getting closer.”
Netanyahu dismissed a report Sunday from diplomats connected to the International Atomic Energy Agency that Iran was attempting to buy time by converting some of its enriched uranium into fuel.
Read: New Iran centrifuges could shorten path to atomic bomb
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Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu address the Conference Of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in Jerusalem February 11, 2013. (REUTERS/Baz Ratner)