Prime Minister Netanyahu addresses the UN General Assembly By JPOST.COM STAFF/Audio Vedio
Full text of Netanyahu's speech to the UN
on October 1, 2013.
Thank you, Mr. President.
I feel deeply honored and
privileged to stand here before you today representing the citizens of the
state of Israel.
We are an ancient people. We date back nearly 4,000 years to Abraham, Isaac and
Jacob. We have journeyed through time. We've overcome the greatest of
And we re-established our sovereign state in our ancestral
homeland, the land
The Jewish people's odyssey through time has taught us two
things: Never give up hope, always remain vigilant. Hope charts the future.
Vigilance protects it.
Today, our hope for the future is challenged by a
that seeks our destruction. But I want you to know: that wasn't always the
case. Some 2500 years ago, the great Persian King Cyrus ended the Babylonian
exile of the Jewish people. He issued a famous edict in which he proclaimed the
right of the Jews to return to the Land
of Israel and rebuild the Jewish
Temple in Jerusalem.
That's a Persian decree, and thus began an historic friendship between the Jews
and the Persians that lasted until modern times.
But in 1979, a radical regime in Tehran tried to stamp out that friendship. As
it was busy crushing the Iranian people's hopes for democracy, it also led wild
chants of "Death to the Jews!" Now, since that time, Presidents of
Iran have come and gone. Some presidents were considered moderates, others
hardliners. But they've all served that same unforgiving creed, that same unforgetting regime – that creed that is espoused and
enforced by the real power in Iran,
the dictator known in Iran
as the Supreme Leader, first Ayatollah Khomeini and now Ayatollah Khamenei.
President Rouhani, like the presidents who came
before him is a loyal servant of the regime. He was one of only six candidates
the regime permitted to run for office. Nearly 700 other candidates were
So what made him acceptable?
Well, Rouhani headed Iran's Supreme
National Security Council from 1989 through 2003. During that time, Iran's henchmen gunned down opposition leaders
in a Berlin
restaurant. They murdered 85 people at the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires. They killed
19 American soldiers by blowing up the Khobar Towers
in Saudi Arabia.
Are we to believe that Rouhani,
the National Security Advisor of Iran at the time, knew nothing about these
Of course he did.
Just as 30 years ago, Iran's
security chiefs knew about the bombings in Beirut that killed 241 American Marines and
58 French Paratroopers.
Rouhani was also Iran's chief
nuclear negotiator between 2003 and 2005. He masterminded the strategy which
to advance its nuclear weapons program behind a smokescreen of diplomatic
engagement and very soothing rhetoric. Now I know Rouhani
does not sound like Ahmadinejad. But when it comes to
nuclear weapons program, the only difference between them is this: Ahmadinejad was a wolf in wolf's clothing and Rouhani is a wolf in sheep's clothing – a wolf who thinks
he can pull the wool over the eyes of the international community.
Like everyone else, I wish we could believe Rouhani's words. But we must focus on Iran's actions.
And it’s the brazen contrast, this extraordinary
contradiction between Rouhani's words and Iran's actions
that is so startling. Rouhani stood at this very
podium last week and praised Iranian democracy. Iranian democracy, he said.
But the regime that he represents executes political
dissidents by the hundreds and jails them by the thousands. Rouhani
spoke of "the human tragedy in Syria." Yet Iran
directly participates in Assad’s murder and massacre of tens of thousands of
innocent men, women, and children in Syria, and that regime is propping
up a Syrian regime that just used chemical weapons against its own people.
Rouhani condemned the
"violent scourge of terrorism."
Yet in the last three years alone Iran has ordered, planned or
perpetrated terrorist attacks in 25 cities on five continents.
Rouhani denounces "attempts
to change the regional balance through proxies." Yet Iran
is actively destabilizing Lebanon,
Yemen, Bahrain, and
many other Middle Eastern countries.
"constructive engagement with other countries." Yet two years ago, Iranian agents tried to
assassinate Saudi Arabia's
ambassador in Washington, DC.
And just three weeks ago, an Iranian agent was arrested trying
to collect information for possible attacks against the American Embassy in Tel
Aviv. Some constructive engagement!
I wish I could be moved by Rouhani's
invitation to join his "WAVE" –a world against violence and
extremism. Yet the only waves Iran
has generated in the last 30 years are waves of violence and terrorism that it
has unleashed on the region and across the world.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I wish I could believe Rouhani,
but I don't because facts are stubborn things. And the facts are that Iran's savage
record flatly contradicts Rouhani's soothing
Last Friday, Rouhani assured us
that in pursuit of its nuclear program, Iran has "never chosen deceit…
and secrecy." Never chosen deceit and secrecy?!
Well, in 2002, Iran was caught red-handed secretly
building an underground centrifuge facility at Natanz.
Then in 2009, Iran was again
caught red-handed secretly building a huge underground nuclear facility for
uranium enrichment in a mountain near Qom.
Rouhani tells us not to worry; he assures us that all
this is not intended for nuclear weapons. Do any of you believe that? If you believe that, here's
a few questions that you might want to ask:
Why would a country that claims to only want peaceful
nuclear energy, why would such a country build hidden underground enrichment
Why would a country with vast natural energy reserves invest
billions in developing nuclear energy?
Why would a country intent on merely civilian nuclear
programs continue to defy multiple Security Council resolutions and incur the
costs of crippling sanctions on its economy?
And why would a country with a peaceful nuclear program
develop intercontinental ballistic missiles whose sole purpose is to deliver
nuclear warheads? You don't build ICBM's
to carry TNT thousands of miles away. You build them for one purpose – to carry
nuclear warheads. And Iran
is now building ICBM's that the United
States says can reach this city in three or
Why would they do all this?
The answer is simple. Iran
is not building a peaceful nuclear program. Iran is developing nuclear weapons.
Last year alone, Iran enriched three tons of uranium
to 3.5%, doubled its stockpile of 20% enriched uranium, and added thousands of
new centrifuges, including advanced centrifuges. It also continued work on the
heavy water reactor in Arak.
That's in order to have another route to the bomb – a plutonium path.
And since Rouhani's election – and
I stress this – this vast and feverish effort has continued unabated.
Ladies and gentlemen, Underground nuclear
water reactors? Advanced centrifuges? ICBM's?
It's not that it's hard to find evidence that Iran has a
nuclear weapons program. It's hard to find evidence that Iran doesn’t
have a nuclear weapons program.
Last year when I spoke here at the UN, I drew a red line. Iran has been
very careful not to cross that line. But Iran is positioning itself to race
across that line in the future at a time of its choosing. Iran wants to
be in a position to rush forward to build nuclear bombs before the
international community can detect it, much less prevent it.
faces one big problem, and that problem is summed up in one word: Sanctions.
I have argued for many years, including on this podium, that
the only way to peacefully prevent Iran from developing nuclear
weapons is to combine tough sanctions with a credible military threat. And that
policy is today bearing fruit. Thanks to the effort of many countries, many
represented here, and under the leadership of the United
States, tough sanctions have taken a big bite out of Iran's economy.
Oil revenues have fallen. The currency has plummeted. Banks are hard pressed to
So as a result, the regime is under intense pressure from
the Iranian people to get the sanctions removed. That's why Rouhani
got elected in the first place. That's why he launched his charm offensive.
He definitely wants to get the sanctions lifted, I guarantee
you that, but he doesn't want to give up Iran's nuclear weapons program in
Now, here's the strategy to achieve this:
First, smile a lot. Smiling never hurts. Second, pay lip
service to peace, democracy and tolerance. Third, offer meaningless concessions
in exchange for lifting sanctions. And fourth, and the most important, ensure
retains sufficient nuclear material and sufficient nuclear infrastructure to
race to the bomb at a time that it chooses to do so. You know why Rouhani thinks he can get away with this? I mean, this is a ruse; it's a ploy. Why does
Rouhani think he can get away with it? Because he's gotten away
with it before. Because his strategy of talking a lot
and doing little has worked for him in the past. He even bragged about
it. Here's what he said in his 2011 book about his time as Iran's chief nuclear negotiator: "While we
were talking to the Europeans in Tehran, we were
installing equipment in Isfahan…"
For those who you who don't know, the Isfahan
facility is an indispensable part of Iran's nuclear weapons program.
That's where uranium ore called yellowcake is converted into an enrichable form. Rouhani boasted,
and I quote: "By creating a calm environment, we were able to complete the
work in Isfahan."
He fooled the world once. Now he thinks he can fool it
again. You see, Rouhani thinks he can have his
yellowcake and eat it too.
And he has another reason to believe that he can get away
with this, and that reason is called North Korea.
also said its nuclear program was for peaceful purposes.
also offered meaningless concessions and empty promises in return for sanctions
relief. In 2005, North Korea
agreed to a deal that was celebrated the world over by many well-meaning
people. Here is what the New York Times editorial had to say about it:
"For years now, foreign policy insiders have pointed to North Korea as
the ultimate nightmare... a closed, hostile and paranoid dictatorship with an
aggressive nuclear weapons program.
Very few could envision a successful outcome.
And yet North
Korea agreed in principle this week to
dismantle its nuclear weapons program, return to the NPT, abide by the treaty's
safeguards and admit international inspectors…. Diplomacy, it seems, does work
Ladies and Gentlemen,
A year later, North Korea exploded its first
nuclear weapons device.
Yet as dangerous as a nuclear-armed North Korea is, it pales in comparison to the
danger of a nuclear-armed Iran.
A nuclear-armed Iran
would have a chokehold on the world's main energy supplies. It would trigger
nuclear proliferation throughout the Middle East,
turning the most unstable part of the planet into a nuclear tinderbox. And for
the first time in history, it would make the specter
of nuclear terrorism a clear and present danger.
A nuclear-armed Iran
in the Middle East wouldn't be another North Korea. It would be another 50
I know that some in the international community think I'm
exaggerating this threat. Sure, they know that Iran's
regime leads these chants, "Death to America!",
"Death to Israel!",
then it pledges to wipe Israel off the map. But they think
this wild rhetoric is just bluster for domestic consumption. Have these people
learned nothing from history?
The last century has taught us that when a radical regime
with global ambitions gets awesome power, sooner or later, its appetite for
aggression knows no bounds. That's the central lesson of the 20th century. Now,
we cannot forget it.
The world may have forgotten this lesson. The Jewish people
fanaticism is not bluster. It's real. This fanatic regime must never be allowed
to arm itself with nuclear weapons.
I know that the world is weary of war. We in Israel, we know
all too well the cost of war. But history has taught us that to prevent war
tomorrow, we must be firm today.
This raises the question:
Can diplomacy stop this threat?
Well, the only diplomatic solution that would work is one
that fully dismantles Iran's
nuclear weapons program and prevents it from having one in the future.
President Obama rightly said that Iran's
conciliatory words must be matched by transparent, verifiable and meaningful
action, and to be meaningful, a diplomatic solution would require Iran to do four
First, cease all uranium enrichment. This is called for by
several Security Council resolutions. Second, remove from its territory the
stockpiles of enriched uranium. Third, dismantle the infrastructure for a
nuclear breakout capability, including the underground facility near Qom and the advanced
centrifuges in Natanz. And four, stop all work at the
heavy water reactor in Arak
aimed at the production of plutonium.
These steps would put an end to Iran's nuclear weapons program and
eliminate its breakout capability. There are those who would readily agree to
with a residual capability to enrich uranium. I advise them to pay close
attention to what Rouhani said in a speech to Iran's Supreme
Cultural Revolutionary Council. This was published in 2005: "A country
that can enrich uranium to about 3.5% will also have the capability to enrich
it to about 90%. Having fuel cycle capability virtually means that a country
that possesses this capability is able to produce nuclear weapons.
Precisely. This is precisely why Iran's nuclear
weapons program must be fully and verifiably dismantled. And this is why the
pressure on Iran
So here's what the international community must do. First,
keep up the sanctions. If Iran
advances its nuclear weapons program during negotiations, strengthen the
Second, don't agree to a partial deal. A partial deal would
lift international sanctions that have taken years to put in place in exchange
for cosmetic concessions that will take only weeks for Iran to
reverse. Third, lift the sanctions only when Iran fully dismantles its nuclear
The international community has Iran on the ropes. If you want to
nuclear weapons program peacefully, don't let up the pressure. Keep it up.
We all want to give diplomacy with Iran a chance
to succeed. But when it comes to Iran, the greater the pressure, the
greater the chance.
Three decades ago, President Ronald Reagan famously advised:
Trust but verify. When it comes to Iran's nuclear weapons program,
here's my advice: Distrust, Dismantle, and Verify.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
will never acquiesce to nuclear arms in the hands of a rogue regime that
repeatedly promises to wipe us off the map. Against such a threat, Israel will
have no choice but to defend itself. I want there to be no confusion on this
point: Israel will not allow
to get nuclear weapons. If Israel
is forced to stand alone, Israel
will stand alone. Yet in standing alone, Israel will know that we will be
defending many, many others. The dangers of a nuclear-armed Iran and the emergence of other threats in our
region have led many of our Arab neighbors to finally
recognize that Israel
is not their enemy. This affords us the opportunity to overcome historic
animosities and build new relationships, new friendships, new
welcomes engagement with the wider Arab world. We hope that our common
interests and common challenges will help us forge a more peaceful future.
continues to seek an historic peace with our Palestinian neighbors,
one that ends
our conflict once and for all. We want a peace based on security and mutual
recognition in which a demilitarized Palestinian state recognizes the Jewish
state of Israel.
I remain committed to achieving an historic conciliation and building a better
future for Israelis and Palestinians alike.
Now, I have no illusions about how difficult this will be to
achieve. Twenty years ago, the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians began.
Six Israeli Prime Ministers, myself included, have not
succeeded in achieving peace with the Palestinians. My predecessors were prepared
to make painful concessions. So am I.
But so far, Palestinian leaders haven't been prepared to
offer the painful concessions they must make to end the conflict. For peace to
be achieved, the Palestinians must finally recognize the Jewish state and Israel's
security needs must be met. I am prepared to make an historic compromise for a
genuine and enduring peace. But I will never compromise on the security of my
people and of my country of the one and only Jewish state.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
One cold day in the late 19th century, my grandfather Nathan
and his younger brother Judah were standing in a railway station in the heart
of Europe. They were seen by a group of
anti-Semitic hoodlums who ran towards them waving clubs, screaming, "Death
to the Jews!"
My grandfather shouted to his younger brother to flee and
save himself. And he then stood alone against the raging mob to slow it down.
They beat him senseless. They left him for dead. Before he passed out, covered
in his own blood, he said to himself: "What a disgrace! What a disgrace! The descendants of the Maccabees lie in the mud, powerless to defend
He promised himself then that if he lived, he would take his
family to the Jewish homeland to help build a future for the Jewish people. I
stand here today as Israel's
Prime Minister because my grandfather kept that promise.
So many other Israelis have a similar story: a parent or a
grandparent who fled every conceivable oppression, and
came to Israel
to start a new life in our ancient homeland.
Together, we've transformed a bludgeoned Jewish people left
for dead into a vibrant, thriving nation, defending itself with the courage of
modern Maccabees, developing limitless possibilities
for the future.
In our time the Biblical prophecies are being realized. As
the prophet Amos said in Hebrew,
"They shall rebuild ruined cities and inhabit them.
They shall plant vineyards and drink their wine.
They shall till gardens and eat their fruit.
And I will plant them upon their soil never to be uprooted
Ladies and gentlemen, the people of Israel have
come home never to be uprooted again.