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Netanyahu claims success with Iran bomb warning

September 28, 2012

Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper, left, shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a bilateral meeting in New York on Friday, Sept. 28, 2012. -AP Photo

UNITED NATIONS: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday his warning about the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran had reverberated around the world.

“I tried to say something yesterday, that I think reverberates now around the world,” Netanyahu told Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the start of a meeting in New York in which he praised Canada's move to cut ties with Iran.

During his Thursday address to the UN General Assembly, Netanyahu called for a “clear red line” to stop Iran getting a nuclear bomb.

He used a a red marker pen to draw a line through a cartoon diagram of a bomb to illustrate what the international community's limit for Iran's nuclear enrichment program should be.

He said Iran had 70 per cent of the necessary uranium for a bomb and warned that at the current pace of enrichment, the Islamic republic could have nearly all the material needed to create a first bomb by next summer.

The Iranian government says it is enriching uranium to 20 per cent purity, a short technical step from the 90 per cent needed for a bomb, for a medical research reactor. The West believes the effort hides a military goal.

“Faced with a clear red line, Iran will back down,” Netanyahu said, calling for tightened sanctions on Tehran.

Netanyahu's speech garnered global attention which was the Israeli premier's goal, according to an Israeli official with Netanyahu's delegation.

“It was important for us that the prime minister made his point in a manner that would leave an impression on the delegates in the room. The diagram of the prime minister met that need,” the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Netanyahu reiterated in his remarks to Harper that Iran's uranium enrichment must be the target as it was the “only discernible and vulnerable part of their nuclear program.”He praised Harper for Canada's decision to close its Tehran embassy and expel Iranian diplomats.

“Severing ties with Iran, was not only an act of statesmanship, but an act of moral clarity,” the Israeli premier said.

Harper replied that Canada wanted “to see a peaceful resolution of all this, and we work closely with our allies to try and alert the world to the danger this presents and the necessity of dealing with it.”