Larry Derfner writes: By all appearances, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in New York Sunday in a state of near desperation over Iran. By his reckoning, the Iranians are now within arm’s reach — a few months or even just weeks short — of having a stockpile of enriched uranium that, if re-enriched, would be enough for a nuclear bomb. Reports in Israeli media even quote an unnamed government official claiming that Iran already has a bomb. And Netanyahu — who addresses the U.N. General Assembly Tuesday a day after visiting the White House — believes the Obama administration is falling for an Iranian ruse fronted by President Hassan Rouhani to get the West to drop sanctions in return for a deceitful demonstration of nuclear innocence.
But if the Israeli leader is feeling desperate, don’t expect him to show it in his U.N. speech; that, after all, is what his opponents expect. There will likely be no over-the-top gimmicks this time, no cartoon bomb audio-visuals. Neither should anyone wait for explicit, drawn-out analogies to the Holocaust. Instead, Netanyahu is likely to speak very quietly and starkly as he lays out his case that it’s too late to slow Iran’s advance to nuclear capability, that the only remaining choice for the world’s leaders is to force Iran to relinquish its capability to build nuclear weapons, or live with a nuclear-armed regime in Tehran.
Netanyahu’s dilemma is this: Not only does he have no trust in Tehran’s peaceful declarations, he is not confident that the U.S. and Europe are willing to escalate a confrontation in order to force Iran to give up its enriched uranium and dismantle its key nuclear facilities. It is not sufficient for Netanyahu for Iran to accept caps on its enrichment levels, because it’s nuclear infrastructure puts it within “a turn of the screwdriver” of weaponization if it followed North Korea’s example and broke out of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The Israeli leader believes the only acceptable scenario is for Iran to be presented with the choice of either dismantling its nuclear program or being bombed to ruins — and that’s not a likely outcome of renewed negotiations between the West and Iran, which are focused on limiting but not entirely eliminating Iran’s capacity to enrich uranium. [Continue reading…]