Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed AIPAC’s annual policy conference live via satellite on Monday morning. He delivered a stern warning about Iran’s continued efforts to obtain a nuclear weapon. Netanyahu reminded the audience, "Iran has made it clear it will continue to defy the will of the international community…diplomacy has not worked."
The world has attempted to engage Iran in a succession of talks and proposals since 2003. Just last month, Iran agreed to yet more discussions after negotiators for the United States, China, Russia, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom (the P5+1) offered concessions on certain sanctions. Netanyahu advised that "Iran has used negotiations to continue the nuclear program … Iran enriches more and more uranium, installs faster and faster centrifuges ... Iran is putting itself in a position to cross that red line very quickly once it chooses to do so."
President Obama continues to mention our commitment to preventing Iranian acquisition of a nuclear weapon. However, the sense of urgency on the part of his Administration sometimes seems lacking. During the 2012 presidential campaign, the President’s Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes states, "We believe that there is time and space to pursue a diplomatic strategy that allows this pressure to continue to sink in."
This sense of urgency plays a large role in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s perspective. According to him, "We must stop [Iran’s] nuclear enrichment program before it’s too late … words alone will not stop Iran … sanctions alone will not stop Iran."
Netanyahu explained that Iran must know a clear military threat against the regime exists should the nuclear program continue unabated.
This sense of urgency and willingness to confront Iran is rational. As Netanyahu reiterated, "The Jewish people know the cost of being defenseless against those who would exterminate us. We will never let that happen again."
Of course, the Iranian regime is an enemy of the United States as well. Our national interests collide with the desire of the regime to attain heterogeneity over the Middle East. And American values of equality under the law, individual liberty, and freedom of conscience stand in stark contrast to the repressive dictates of Ayatollah Khomeini, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the Revolutionary Guard. The threat posed by a nuclear-armed Iran is one shared by the United States and Israel.
Netanyahu declared that the United States is the "Greatest force for good the world has ever known." Let’s hope that this nation continues to make this world a better place by ensuring the Iranian regime never possesses the ability to threaten the world with nuclear weaponry.