Netanyahu says Iran hasn't crossed nuclear "red line"

JERUSALEM Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:29am EDT

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu points to a red line he has drawn on the graphic of a bomb as he addresses the 67th United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. Headquarters in New York, September 27, 2012. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu points to a red line he has drawn on the graphic of a bomb as he addresses the 67th United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. Headquarters in New York, September 27, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Lucas Jackson

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday Iran had not crossed the "red line" he set for its nuclear program, despite an assessment to the contrary by a former Israeli intelligence chief.

At the United Nations in September, Netanyahu drew a red line across a cartoon bomb to illustrate the point at which he said Iran will have amassed enough uranium at 20 percent fissile purity to fuel one nuclear bomb if enriched further. He said then that Iran could reach that threshold by mid-2013.

Last week, Amos Yadlin, a former chief of Israeli military intelligence, told a security conference in Tel Aviv that "the Iranians have crossed the red line" Netanyahu drew at the U.N. General Assembly.

Without referring directly to Yadlin, Netanyahu said at a meeting on Monday of his Likud-Beitenu parliamentary faction that Iran's nuclear activities remained short of his benchmark.

"Iran is continuing with its nuclear program. It has yet to cross the red line I presented at the United Nations, but it is approaching it systematically," he said in broadcast remarks.

"It must not be allowed to cross it."

The Islamic Republic says it is enriching uranium only for peaceful energy and medical purposes.

Israel, widely believed to be the Middle East's only nuclear-armed power, has issued veiled warnings for years that it might attack Iran if international sanctions and big power diplomacy fail to curb what it regards as a drive by Tehran to develop atomic weapons.

Israel has long insisted on the need for a convincing military threat and setting clear lines beyond which Iran's nuclear activity should not advance. It says this is the only way to persuade Iran to bow to international pressure by curbing enrichment activity and allowing unfettered U.N. inspections.

(Reporting by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (2)
Logical123 wrote:
The lunatic Netanyahu is dreaming if he thinks anybody in Iran cares about his stupid “red lines.” Only stupid American politicians jump up and down when this madman speaks. Nobody in Iran cares.

Apr 29, 2013 11:11am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Matthewd556 wrote:
nobody at all should care what Netanyahu thinks, Israel is the only country in the middle east who has nuclear weapons and now he thinks he has the right to limit the rights of another nation? the zionists in Israel have threatened others and caused occupation with Palestine and they have a stockpile of nuclear weapons which they would use on whim, the west should be helping Iran and not issuing sanctions because a terrorist of a prime minister keeps making false and warlike accusations against an otherwise peaceful nation, if there ever would be peace in the middle east it should start with issuing sanctions of Israel not Iran or even a regime change that would be acceptable to everybody.

Apr 30, 2013 11:05am EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.