Netanyahu’s call for red lines was not a surprise. But he placed Iran’s nuclear threat in a broader context of what he said is the global struggle between forces of progress and darkness.
“Today, a great battle is being waged between the modern and the medieval,” he said, with the forces of “intolerant and extremist Islam” arrayed against the tolerant and freedom-loving world.
The protagonists of this new “medievalism,” Netanyahu said, were led by a country, Iran, and an organization, Al Qaeda. A world that can easily fathom the unacceptability of nuclear weapons in Al Qaeda’s hands, he said, should consider Iran an equal threat.
“It makes little difference if these arms are in the hands of the most dangerous terrorist regime or the most dangerous terrorist organization,” he said.
Netanyahu mixed his dark and alarmist tone with some familiar touches of the tried politician he is, at one point pulling out a prop – a simple diagram with a big round bomb topped by a lighted fuse to demonstrate Iran’s progress in stockpiling enriched uranium. He even pulled out a felt pen to draw a sharp red line across the bomb and illustrate his point.
Although he put the world on notice about his “duty” to act “before it’s too late” to protect his country, Netanyahu also highlighted Israel’s cooperation with the United States in confronting Iran and praised Mr. Obama for his categorical refusal of a nuclear Iran from the UN stage this week.
Netanyahu said he appreciated Obama’s declaration that “the threat of a nuclear Iran cannot be contained” and that a nuclear Iran is unacceptable.