Netanyahu claims international diplomatic efforts and economic sanctions have failed, but a new report from the Israeli Foreign Ministry, leaked Thursday, concludes that sanctions are hitting Iran hard. According to the report, details of which appeared in the Haaretz newspaper, Iran's oil exports declined by over 50 percent in the past year and sanctions on Iran'scentral bank have made it difficult for the regime to access its foreign currency.
An Israeli official confirmed the new report but refused to elaborate on it. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss internal government documents.
Netanyahu's 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 region-wide 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'sdevelopment of missiles capable of striking the Jewish state and its support for hostile Arab militant groups.
Also Thursday, on the sidelines of the General Assembly, key figures will gather for a Friends of Yemen meeting that will be co-chaired by British Foreign Secretary William Hague, Yemen's President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and Saudi Arabia's Deputy Foreign Ministe Abdulaziz bin Abdullah Abdullah. The meeting will produce a communique aimed at generating support for Hadi, who took office in February after more than a year of political turmoil and is now trying to steer his country's democratic transition.