by Ben Cohen –The algemeiner
Addressing the UN General Assembly on Thursday afternoon, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Iran’s leaders that the Jewish state would do “whatever it must do” to protect itself from the continuing nuclear threat posed by Tehran.
During a speech that centered on Netanyahu’s unveiling of what he described as a “secret atomic warehouse” in the Iranian capital, the Israeli leader stressed that Iran had never wavered in its goal of developing a nuclear weapons program. Citing Israel’s revelations last April concerning the Iranian regime’s Project Amad — a covert nuclear program that ran from 1999 to 2003 — Netanyahu stated that the lack of action on the part of the international community had prompted him to make a fresh disclosure on Thursday.
“What I’m about to say has not been shared publicly before,” Netanyahu said. “Today, I am disclosing for the first time that Iran has a secret atomic warehouse in Tehran for storing massive amounts of equipment and material from Iran’s secret nuclear weapons program.”
Displaying the enlarged photographs of Iranian nuclear sites that have become a Netanyahu trademark, the Israeli leader warned that Iran would attempt to clean out the newly-revealed site in the coming days. He called on Yukiya Amano — the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) — to visit the site before that happens.
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“Go and inspect this atomic warehouse immediately before the Iranians clean it out,” Netanyahu urged. “While you’re at it, inspect the other sites. Once and for all, tell the world the truth about Iran.”
Addressing the Iranian regime, Netanyahu said he had one message for “the tyrants of Tehran.”
“Israel knows what you are doing and where you are doing it,” Netanyahu declared. “Israel will never let a regime that calls for our destruction develop nuclear weapons — not now, not in 10 years, not ever.”
Netanyahu argued that the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran had provided its rulers with a sanctions-relief windfall “to fuel its vast war machine,” listing Iran’s ongoing military interventions in Iraqi Kurdistan, Syria, and Lebanon.
Praising US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the deal last May, Netanyahu asserted that the agreement reached in Geneva between Iran, the US, and five other leading states had “brought war ever closer to our borders.”
“In Gaza, Iran is arming terror groups to launch rocket attacks at our cities and terror attacks against civilians,” he continued. “In Lebanon, Iran is directing Hezbollah to build secret sites to convert inaccurate projectiles into precision-guided missiles.” Brandishing another enlarged image, Netanyahu accused Hezbollah — Iran’s Shia proxy in Lebanon — of “deliberately using the innocent people of Beirut as human shields. They’ve placed three of these conversion sites along Beirut’s international airport.”
Netanyahu added that he had a “message for Hezbollah: Israel also knows what you are doing and where you are doing it, and Israel will not let you get away with it.”
Pointedly charging “European leaders” with practicing a policy of “appeasement” toward Iran, Netanyahu demanded that “instead of coddling Iran’s dictators, join the US, Israel, and most of the Arab world in adopting new sanctions against a regime that endangers all of us.”
Turning to the UN, Netanyahu underlined Israel’s gratitude to both President Trump and US Ambassador Nikki Haley, in marked contrast to the rest of the global institution. Noting that the while the notorious 1975 UN General Assembly resolution equating Zionism with racism had been rescinded, its “foul stench still clings to these halls.”
“Israel airlifted Ethiopian Jews to freedom and a new life in Israel, yet here at the UN Israel is absurdly accused of racism,” the prime minister said. “Israel’s Arab citizens vote in our elections, serve in our parliament, preside in courts and have the same individual rights — yet here at the UN, Israel is shamefully accused of apartheid.” Defending new legislation that frames Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, Netanyahu charged Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas — who lambasted the new law in an earlier address to the UNGA on Thursday — with presiding over an autocratic regime.
“Your PA imposes death sentences on Palestinians who sell land to Jews,” Netanyahu said. “President Abbas, you proudly pay Palestinians who murder Jews — the more they slay, the more you pay. And you call Israel racist?”
Israel is both a Jewish and democratic state and “will always remain both,” Netanyahu said, reminding his audience that the UN had specifically approved the creation of Israel as a Jewish state in 1948.