Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will make his case against Iran before the United Nations General Assembly today, arguing that time is quickly running out to stop the Islamic Republic from becoming a nuclear power and the threat of force must be seriously considered.
His demand that President Barack Obama declare “red lines” that would trigger an American attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities has been rejected in Washington and sparked a public rift between the two leaders.
Netanyahu claims international diplomatic efforts and economic sanctions have failed. His time at the U.N. podium gives him an opportunity in front of the international community to press his case once again, perhaps in a final plea before Israel takes matters into its own hands. Israeli leaders have issued a series of warnings in recent weeks suggesting that if Iran’s uranium enrichment program continues it may soon stage a unilateral military strike, flouting even American wishes.
The Obama administration has urgently sought to hold off Israeli military action, which would likely result in the U.S. being pulled into a conflict and cause regionwide mayhem on the eve of American elections.
Such an attack would almost certainly lead to retaliatory Iranian missile strikes on Israeli population centers. On Sunday, Iranian leaders suggested they may strike Israeli preemptively if they feel threatened.
Israel considers a nuclear-armed Iran to be an existential threat, citing Iranian calls for Israel’s destruction, Iran’s development of missiles capable of striking the Jewish state and its support for hostile Arab militant groups.