Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday urged a clear “red line on Iran’s nuclear weapons program” in an address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Thursday.
"At this late hour, there is only one way to peacefully prevent Iran from getting atomic bombs and that's by placing a clear red line on Iran's nuclear weapons program," he said, stressing that the Iranian regime was using negotiations to stall.
"Iran uses diplomatic negotiations to buy time to advance its program," he said. "The international community has tried sanctions, has passed some of strongest sanctions. Oil exports have been curbed, and the Iranian economy has been hit hard. But we must face the truth that sanctions have not stopped Iran's nuclear drive."
Citing data from the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Netanyahu said that Iran "doubled its centrifuges last year," stressing that he believes Tehran's ability to make an atomic weapon will be irreversible by next spring or summer.
Holding up a cartoon-like drawing of a bomb with a fuse, Netanyahu literally drew a red line just below a label reading "final stage" to a bomb, in which it was 90 percent along the path of having sufficient weapons-grade material.
He repeated that a red line “must be drawn on Iran's nuclear enrichment program because these enrichment facilities are the only nuclear installations that we can definitely see and credibly target."
"I believe that faced with a clear red line, Iran will back down. And this will give more time for sanctions and diplomacy to convince Iran to dismantle its nuclear weapons program all together," he added.
He said he was confident Israel and the United States could chart a way forward on how to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
He thanked US President Barack Obama for his speech at the United Nations two days earlier in which he warned that he would not tolerate a nuclear-armed Iran.
"Israel is in discussions with the United States over this issue and I am confident that we can chart a path forward together," Netanyahu stressed.
He also accused Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas of slandering Israel.
"We wont solve our conflict with libelous speeches at the UN. We wont solve our conflict with unilateral declarations of statehood," Netanyahu declared, shortly after Abbas condemned Jewish settlement building as "racist."
"We have to sit together, negotiate," Netanyahu said, emphasizing the importance of Palestinian recognition "of the one and only Jewish state."
Netanyahu emphasized the roots of the Jewish people in the land of Israel: "Three thousand years ago King David reigned over the Jewish State in our eternal capital, Jerusalem," he said, asserting that the "Jewish State will live forever."