AJC: Heed Israeli Prime Minister’s Warnings on Iran Nuclear Threat

March 6, 2012 – New York – AJC praised Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for explicitly explaining Israel’s concerns about Iran developing nuclear weapons, and the need for urgent actions to stop the Iranian program.

Israel has waited patiently for the international community to resolve this issue,” said Netanyahu. “We’ve waited for diplomacy to work. We’ve waited for sanctions to work. None of us can afford to wait much longer.”

Netanyahu addressed AIPAC in Washington, D.C., last night, in a powerful address.

“No one should underestimate the burden Israel’s prime minister bears in assuring the security of his country and all of its citizens,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris. “Prime Minister Netanyahu made a compelling case for why the Iranian regime cannot be trusted. It sponsors terrorist groups that have struck around the world, threatens to destroy Israel, denies the Holocaust, and abuses the human rights of Iranians. Now imagine this same regime with a nuclear weapon.”

Netanyahu dismissed Iran’s claim that it is enriching uranium for medical research. “When that Iranian ICBM is flying through the air to a location near you, you’ve got nothing to worry about. It’s only carrying medical isotopes,” said Netanyahu. He stressed that “a country that builds underground nuclear facilities, develops intercontinental ballistic missiles, manufactures thousands of centrifuges, and absorbs crippling sanctions” clearly intends to use its nuclear capability for military purposes.

On U.S.-Israel relations, Netanyahu said that the two allies fully agree that “all options are on the table” and containment is not a policy option regarding Iran’s nuclear program. “We deeply appreciate the alliance between our two countries,” the prime minister said.

But Netanyahu also warned repeatedly in his speech that “Israel must always reserve the right to defend itself” and at some point may be left with no choice but to take action. “When it comes to Israel’s survival, we must always remain the masters of our fate,” said Netanyahu. “I will never let my people live under the shadow of annihilation.”

AJC, which has given priority to the Iranian nuclear threat for well over a decade, and raised the issue in hundreds of meetings with top government officials around the world, shares Israel’s deep-seated concerns.

“Today, more than ever, it’s imperative to heed Prime Minister Netanyahu’s clear message, which aligns totally with President Obama’s, about the danger posed by Iran and the unacceptability of an Iranian bomb,” Harris concluded.