Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu plans to warn the international community to learn from its mistakes with North Korea and not to be fooled by Iran’s new conciliatory attitude toward its nuclear weapons program, when he speaks at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, October 1.
“Iran must not be allowed to repeat North Korea’s ploy to get nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu is expected to say, according to an Israeli official who provided The Jerusalem Post on Monday with some of the quotes from the most recent draft of the prime minister’s UN speech for next week.
By 2007 North Korea had become a nuclear power after engaging in diplomatic negotiations with the West aimed at preventing it from developing such weapons.
Netanyahu is expected to tell the UN that “just like North Korea before it, Iran professes to seemingly peaceful intentions. It talks the talk of nonproliferation while seeking to ease sanctions and buy more time for its nuclear program.”
Last year Netanyahu made headlines at the UN when he held up a diagram of a bomb and drew a red line to illustrate the point at which force should be used instead of diplomacy to halt Iran’s nuclear program.
His speech this year comes as diplomatic hostilities appear to have lessened between the US and Iran.
Washington has been a stanch ally of Israel in its battle to halt Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
But US President Barack Obama in the past week displayed a new sense of optimism that a diplomatic solution can be found, now that there is a new administration in Tehran.
It was expected on Monday that US Secretary of State John Kerry would meet with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Jayad Zarif later in the week. It is the first such high level meeting between the US and Iran since 1979.
On Monday, the EU announced that Zarif would join the five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany later this week to discuss Tehran’s nuclear program.
But Netanyahu next week is likely to warn the UN that “a bad agreement is worse than no agreement at all.”
Israel believes that US optimism is premature and that Iran should be judged on its deeds, not words. Netanyahu has said that the Iranian threat will be halted only once Tehran has agreed to halt uranium enrichment and remove that material from its country. It must also dismantle its nuclear facility in Qom and stop building a nuclear reactor at Arak.
On Sunday, Iran’s new President Hassan Rouhani said his country would give up its right to enrich uranium.
Netanyahu will be the last of the world leaders to address the assembly’s opening session.
He will speak one week after Obama and Rouhani.