Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the U.N. General Assembly Thursday and took the world to school. For months, Netanyahu has talked about the need to draw a "red line" on Iran's nuclear program. In a brilliant move Netanyahu pulled out a simple diagram of a bomb in the middle of his address and drew a literal "red line."
The diagram looked like something out of a Saturday morning cartoon. As if he was teaching a class, he pointed to the picture and started with the basics:
"This is a bomb; this is a fuse. In the case of Iran's nuclear plans to build a bomb, this bomb has to be filled with enough enriched uranium. And Iran has to go through three stages. The first stage: they have to enrich enough of low enriched uranium. The second stage: they have to enrich enough medium enriched uranium. And the third stage and final stage: they have to enrich enough high enriched uranium for the first bomb.
Where's Iran? Iran's completed the first stage. It took them many years, but they completed it and they're 70 percent of the way there. Now they are well into the second stage. By next spring, at most by next summer at current enrichment rates, they will have finished the medium enrichment and move on to the final stage. From there, it's only a few months, possibly a few weeks before they get enough enriched uranium for the first bomb."
(If you haven't been keeping up with all the IAEA reports about Iran's nuclear advances, Netanyahu summed up what you need to know … Iran's very close to the bomb. In addition, Netanyahu's timetable that it will take Iran until next spring or summer seems to take the pressure off an immediate Israeli strike. This also might put a potential strike beyond November's U.S. presidential election while recognizing the possibility of an "October surprise.")
Netanyahu went on:
"Ladies and gentlemen, what I told you now is not based on secret information. It's not based on military intelligence. It's based on public reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Anybody can read them. They're online. So if these are the facts, and they are, where should the red line be drawn? The red line should be drawn right here... Netanyahu draws a red line as if the teacher of the class).
Before Iran completes the second stage of nuclear enrichment necessary to make a bomb. Before Iran gets to a point where it's a few months away or a few weeks away from amassing enough enriched uranium to make a nuclear weapon. Each day, that point is getting closer. That's why I speak today with such a sense of urgency. And that's why everyone should have a sense of urgency."
Netanyahu added, "At this late hour, there is only one way to peacefully prevent Iran from getting atomic bombs. That's by placing a clear red line on Iran's nuclear weapons program. Red lines don't lead to war; red lines prevent war."
We will see if the world heeds the lesson.