Netanyahu to World: Don't Let Iran 'Rush to the Bomb'
JERUSALEM, Israel -- With conflicting reports over whether or not world leaders are nearing a deal with Iran over its nuclear program, social media became the sparring ground for preventing Iran from becoming a threshold nuclear power.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the other P5+1 nations met in Oman to try to hammer out a deal with Iran on its nuclear program before the November 24 deadline.
But on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned negotiators not to allow Iran to become a nuclear threshold state.
In a message on his Facebook page, Netanyahu said his office sent a letter to the P5+1 nations (U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Russia, and China) pointing out that Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei publically called for the destruction of Israel even as he's negotiating a nuclear deal.
"The leader of this country that is depicted by some as moderate, the Islamic State of Iran, has said in the last 48 hours: one, that he calls for the annihilation of Israel -- his words, not mine; two, he gives nine ways and reasons of how and why Israel should be annihilated -- his words, not mine," Netanyahu said.
On his Twitter page, Khamenei called Israel a "barbaric, wolflike [sic] and infanticidal [sic] regime" for which there is "no cure but to be annihilated."
He provided a nine-step plan for confronting and destroying the Jewish state, including arming the Palestinians.
Meanwhile, reports say Iran is preparing to expand its plutonium program and may have five times the advanced centrifuges as previously thought. That would shorten the time for Iran to achieve breakout and become a nuclear power.
"There is no moderation in Iran. It is unrepentant, unreformed, it calls for Israel's eradication, it promotes international terrorism, and as the IAEA report just said, it continues to deceive the international community about its nuclear weapons program," Netanyahu continued.
Some fear with U.S. midterm elections behind him, President Barack Obama could push through a disastrous deal with Iran. He has already hinted at bypassing Congress and didn't deny reports of a "secret letter" he'd sent to Khamenei.
But Netanyahu cautioned negotiators against facilitating Iran's nuclear weapons program.
"This terrorist regime in Iran must not be allowed to become a nuclear threshold power. And I call on the P5+1 countries -- don't rush into a deal that would let Iran rush to the bomb," he said.
Netanyahu has warned against a nuclear Iran for years, advocating economic sanctions rather than a military strike. On Monday, he again said "the alternative to a bad deal is not war."
"It means giving existing sanctions and even stronger sanctions more time to work to achieve the goal of fully dismantling Iran's military nuclear capabilities," Netanyahu said at the Jewish Federations of North America's General Assembly in Jerusalem. "To remove sanctions before that goal is reached is to remove any hope of a genuine diplomatic solution."
"That is why avoiding a bad deal and maintaining strong pressure on Iran should be the policy of all responsible governments. So too, all responsible governments should help President Obama in his effort to degrade and defeat ISIS," Netanyahu said.
It's not clear if the P5+1 will heed his warning or if it will fall on deaf ears.