Netanyahu takes case against Iran from White House to UN

IN UN speech, it is unlikely that PM will openly come out against direct US-Iranian talks, but he is likely to stress that negotiations must have a deadline, sanctions must not be eased and military threat must remain.

Netanyahu bomb picture 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)
Netanyahu bomb picture 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)
After presenting his case against Iran privately to US President Barack Obama for a few hours on Monday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will condense but dramatize his argument and take it to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday.
It is unlikely, however, that Netanyahu will openly come out against direct US-Iranian talks, especially since a CNN poll on Monday found that three-quarters of Americans say they favor direct diplomatic negotiations with Iran.
Tellingly, he did not oppose the dialogue during his statement to the press in the White House after his meeting with Obama.
Netanyahu has been careful in the past not to come out against direct negotiations with Iran – neither US-Iran talks nor talks between Iran and the world powers known as the P5+1, which include the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.
What he is likely to stress in his UN speech, however, as well as in a media blitz afterward, is that those talks must have a clear deadline and not be open-ended, that the sanctions must not be relieved – and should indeed be stepped up – until Tehran takes concrete steps to dismantle its nuclear program, and that a credible military threat must remain in the background.
A frequent user of props in major speeches to embellish his point, Netanyahu last year took out a red marker and drew a line on a cartoonish- looking picture of a bomb to illustrate Israel’s redline on Iran’s nuclear program. That speech was the most memorable one from the 67th UN General Assembly, and it captured headlines around the world.
At the UN General Assembly in 2009, Netanyahu unfurled the original construction plans for the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp to castigate the delegates at the UN for listening quietly to anti-Semitic rants and the Holocaust denial of then Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Netanyahu feels comfortable behind the UN podium, having served there as Israel’s ambassador from 1984 to 1988.
Sources in the Prime Minister’s Office would not say if Netanyahu would use a prop this time around or what it would be.
Netanyahu was scheduled to return to New York Monday evening from Washington to continue tweaking his UN speech.
Following his noon-time meeting with Obama, he met with US Vice President Joe Biden at the White House and US Secretary of State John Kerry at the State Department. He also was scheduled to meet in the late afternoon with Congressional leaders at a going-away reception for Israel’s Ambassador Michael Oren, who ended his more-than- four-year term in Washington on Monday and will be replaced by Ron Dermer.
Netanyahu is scheduled to meet Tuesday, after his speech, with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and then begin a media blitz to explain Israel’s position on Iran to the American public.
Netanyahu will be the fourth-to-last of some 195 speakers at the UN General Assembly’s general debate, which began last Tuesday. He will speak after the representative of Dominica and before Togo.