Israel’s Netanyahu urges ‘red line’ on Iran nuclear enrichment

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used a red marker and Road Runner-type cartoon chart of a nuclear bomb to tell the United Nations Wednesday where Israel would draw a red line on Iran’s uranium enrichment program.

“Here’s a diagram. This is a bomb. This is a fuse,” Netanyahu told the UN gathering. “In the case of Iran’s nuclear plans to build a bomb, this bomb has to be filled with enough enriched uranium.”

“Where’s Iran? Iran’s completed the first stage. …and they’re 70 percent of the way there,” the Israeli leader said. “Now they’re well into the second stage. And by next spring, at most by next summer at current enrichment rates, they will have finished the medium enrichment and move on to the final stage. From there, it’s only a few months, possibly a few weeks before they get enough enriched uranium for the first bomb.”

Despite the cartoon-ish graphics, which almost seemed to mock recent Israeli government near hysteria about the urgency of the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear advances, Netanyahu’s speech “put the focus where it should be: on Iran’s program and not on President Obama,” David Makovsky, a Middle East analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told Al-Monitor.

Notably, Makovsky said, Netanyahu revealed that the United States and Israel had opened discussions on Iran red lines.

“Israel is in discussions with the United States over this issue, and I am confident that we can chart a path forward together,” Netanyahu told the world body.

The Israeli leader’s remarks Wednesday also seemed to allow that there are several more months–until the spring at least–before Israel would feel compelled to take military action if the international community has not reached a diplomatic agreement with Iran.

(Photo: REUTERS/Lucas Jackson.)