UNITED NATIONS: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Iran on Friday of a “nuclear threat” in what his office quickly walked back as a slip of the tongue.
The hawkish prime minister said in his speech at the UN General Assembly that alarm over Tehran’s nuclear programme was driving Israel closer to the Arab world, with his government on the “cusp” of a historic breakthrough with Saudi Arabia.
Netanyahu, who has repeatedly used the UN stage to issue dark warnings about Tehran, briefly gave pause at the General Assembly when he appeared to threaten nuclear attack if Tehran pursues its own atomic bomb.
Israeli premier’s office tries to paper over the blunt remarks, saying that he misread from the text which said ‘credible military threat’
“Above all — above all — Iran must face a credible nuclear threat. As long as I’m prime minister of Israel, I will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu said.
His office soon afterward said that Netanyahu had misspoken and that his prepared text said “credible military threat” instead of “credible nuclear threat”. “It was misread as credible nuclear threat. The prime minister stands by the original text of the speech,” his office said. Richard Gowan, who follows the United Nations for the International Crisis Group, said it was not uncommon for leaders to misread speeches.
US President Joe Biden, in a key section of his General Assembly speech on Tuesday, warned that giving in to Russia on Ukraine would abandon the principles of the United States when he meant United Nations.
Published in Dawn, September 23rd, 2023