PM’s U.N. ‘Gimmick’: Addressing Iran’s Khameini in Persian?

YERUSHALAYIM -
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu uses a chart as he speaks about the Iranian nuclear program during the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly, in 2012. (Avi Ohayon/GPO/Flash90, File)

Iran continues to be Israel’s main concern in the arena of diplomatic activity. The Iranian nuclear program is set to be the main topic of discussion Monday between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Donald Trump when they meet, a day before the U.N. General Assembly session convenes.

Prime Minister Netanyahu will be speaking at that event Tuesday, and speculation has been great in the Israeli media on whether — and what — attention-getting “gimmick” Netanyahu might use to emphasize just how concerned Israel is about Iran’s nuclear program. Sources told Channel Two that it was likely that PM Netanyahu would use the U.N. podium to directly address Iran’s top ayatollah Ali Khameini — possibly in Persian. Prime Minister Netanyahu will speak of the need for stability in the Middle East and call on Khameini not to interfere with regimes such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and to withdraw Iranian forces from Syria and Lebanon. In English, Netanyahu will speak of the danger of an Iranian nuclear program married to the advanced ballistic missiles Tehran is developing.

In Netanyahu’s most famous U.N. presentation, he presented in 2012 Iran’s advancement on nuclear weapons in the form of a chart in the shape of a bomb. According to the drawing, Iran was close to the “red line” that would signify the point of no return for Iran to reach a nuclear device.

At his meeting with Trump, Netanyahu is expected to push for the U.S. to pull back from its agreement with Iran, which allows Tehran to develop a peaceful nuclear program. Netanyahu will present Israel’s evidence that Iran is aggressively pursuing advanced nuclear weapons in secret, and discuss a timetable that the U.S. can use to impose further sanctions on Iran.

According to Channel Two, Netanyahu’s main objective is to convince Trump that the U.S. should reconsider its support for lowering or eliminating sanctions on Iran, which is part of the nuclear development agreement Iran signed with the U.S. and other countries in 2015, in which Iran agreed to suspend its nuclear enrichment program. The president is supposed to sign off on approval for the continued suppression of those sanctions every three months; if he does not, the sanctions go back into effect. The next sign-off is in mid-October, and Netanyahu will appeal to Trump not to sign off on Iranian compliance with the nuclear development agreement.