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Hussein writes: "Almost two decades ago, in 1996, Netanyahu addressed a joint session of Congress where he darkly warned, 'If Iran were to acquire nuclear weapons, this could presage catastrophic consequences, not only for my country, and not only for the Middle East, but for all mankind.'"

Benjamin Netanyahu. (photo: Richard Drew/AP)
Benjamin Netanyahu. (photo: Richard Drew/AP)


Netanyahu's Long History of Crying Wolf About Iran's Nuclear Program

By Murtaza Hussein, The Intercept

04 March 15

 

sraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to address the U.S. Congress tomorrow about the perils of striking a nuclear deal with Iran.  Netanyahu, not generally known for his measured rhetoric, has been vociferous in his public statements about the dangers of such compromise, warning that it will allow Iran to “rush to the bomb” and that it amounts to giving the country “a license” to develop nuclear weapons.

It is worth remembering, however, that Netanyahu has said much of this before. Almost two decades ago, in 1996, Netanyahu addressed a joint session of Congress where he darkly warned, “If Iran were to acquire nuclear weapons, this could presage catastrophic consequences, not only for my country, and not only for the Middle East, but for all mankind,” adding that, “the deadline for attaining this goal is getting extremely close.”

Almost 20 years later that deadline has apparently still not passed, but Netanyahu is still making dire predictions about an imminent Iranian nuclear weapon. Four years before that Congressional speech, in 1992, then-parliamentarian Netanyahu advised the Israeli Knesset that Iran was “three to five years” away from reaching nuclear weapons capability, and that this threat had to be “uprooted by an international front headed by the U.S.”

In his 1995 book, “ Fighting Terrorism,” Netanyahu once again asserted that Iran would have a nuclear weapon in “three to five years,” apparently forgetting about the expiration of his old deadline.

For a considerable time thereafter, Netanyahu switched his focus to hyping the purported nuclear threat posed by another country, Iraq, about which he claimed there was “no question” that it was “advancing towards to the development of nuclear weapons.” Testifying again in front of Congress in 2002, Netanyahu claimed that Iraq’s nonexistent nuclear program was in fact so advanced that the country was now operating “centrifuges the size of washing machines.”

Needless to say, these claims turned out to be disastrously false. Despite this, Netanyahu, apparently unchastened by the havoc his previous false charges helped create, immediately went back to ringing the alarm bells about Iran.

A 2009 U.S. State Department diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks described then-prime ministerial candidate Netanyahu informing a visiting Congressional delegation that Iran was “probably one or two years away” from developing weapons capability. Another cable later the same year showed Netanyahu, now back in office as prime minister, telling a separate delegation of American politicians in Jerusalem that “Iran has the capability now to make one bomb,” adding that alternatively, “they could wait and make several bombs in a year or two.”

In statements around this time made to journalists, Netanyahu continued to raise alarm about this supposedly imminent, apocalyptic threat. As he told The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg in a 2010 interview, “You don’t want a messianic apocalyptic cult controlling atomic bombs,” adding, “that’s what is happening in Iran.”

In 2012 Netanyahu said in closed talks reported by Israeli media that Iran is just “a few months away” from attaining nuclear capabilities. Later that same year, he gave a widely-mocked address at the United Nations in which he alleged that Iran would have the ability to construct a weapon within roughly one year, while using a printout of a cartoon bomb to illustrate his point.

Despite this heady rhetoric, Netanyahu’s estimates of an imminent Iranian nuclear bomb have consistently been at odds with analyses made by his own intelligence agency. In 2011, departing Mossad intelligence chief Meir Dagan said in his final intelligence summary that, contrary to Netanyahu’s repeated statements at the time, an Iranian nuclear weapon is in fact not imminent, and that any military action against the country could end up spurring the development of such a weapon.

Just last week, leaked intelligence cables reported by Al Jazeera revealed that at roughly the same time in 2012 that Netanyahu was brandishing his cartoon bomb and telling the United Nations that Iran was close to obtaining a nuclear weapon, Israeli intelligence had actually determined the country was “not performing the activity necessary to produce weapons.”

The conclusion from this history is inescapable. Over the course of more than 20 years, Benjamin Netanyahu has made false claims about nuclear weapons programs in both Iran and Iraq, inventing imaginary timelines for their development, and making public statements that contradicted the analysis of his own intelligence advisers.

Despite this, he continues to be treated by lawmakers and media figures as a credible voice on this issue.

When Netanyahu gives his address to Congress, he can likely be counted on to say much the same thing he’s been saying for the past two decades about an impending Iranian nuclear threat, and credulous pundits and politicians can be counted on to believe him.

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+24 # fredboy 2015-03-04 10:28
That's his problem. He appears to again be crying wolf.

By misleading us before, he has discredited his own nation's intelligence community. And himself.

Israel needs new leadership that can and will share accurate strategic assessments and mature, focused peacekeeping approaches.
 
 
-30 # WaaDoo 2015-03-04 10:36
Stupid leftist and stupid world leaders who won't reign in Iran. this crap started with Ahmadinejad who led his gang against the US embassy instead of Russia's embassy. The reason? A. said "no not the Russians, they will kill us"

At the time Pres. Carter (Obama's predecessor) was in office. Now Carter's embodiment wants to let Iran have what it wants.

Friends, that AIN'T CRYING WOLF. That's call it like it is. If you support O. and his appeasement, prepare yourself to become a Muslim or die !
 
 
+14 # Merlin 2015-03-04 16:33
WaaDooDo 2015-03-04 10:36

Hahaha. What a post. Hahaha

You are a riot, man! Did I suggest Stand Up Comedy to you as a serious profession? Hey seriously give it a try. Let me know where you are appearing and if its in my home town, I'll be there!
 
 
+8 # lfeuille 2015-03-04 19:20
Jackass.
 
 
+4 # Nominae 2015-03-05 12:06
Quoting lfeuille:
Jackass.


Succinctly and well put, yes.

And no argument tops this very vision of reliable ol' Bennie Boy, up there flogging his same old line from almost twenty years ago ....

Yup .... Same shit, different ... decade !
 
 
+4 # dsepeczi 2015-03-05 11:34
Quoting WaaDoo:
Stupid leftist and stupid world leaders who won't reign in Iran. this crap started with Ahmadinejad who led his gang against the US embassy instead of Russia's embassy. The reason? A. said "no not the Russians, they will kill us"

At the time Pres. Carter (Obama's predecessor) was in office. Now Carter's embodiment wants to let Iran have what it wants.

Friends, that AIN'T CRYING WOLF. That's call it like it is. If you support O. and his appeasement, prepare yourself to become a Muslim or die !


Calling it like it is ? .... In what fantasy world ? Not only did Ahmadinejad not lead the assault on our embassy ... our own CIA states he wasn't even there as a student. Where the rest of your delusional fantasy/quotes comes from is anybody's guess so I'm not even going to bother to address them. Bringing up events that happened nearly forty years ago as proof that a country is aggressive is a very unconvincing argument anyway.
 
 
-18 # Roland 2015-03-04 12:21
His time line has been off. Maybe, he realized the longer the world waits to enforce UN regulations, the harder it will be. It is too hard now. 10, 15, 20 years ago a strike on their facilities would have been easier. Now Iran doesn't consider it a viable threat, which is why they are operating in this fashion.

How many times has the IAEA found violations by Iran? What has anyone done about this? So maybe he was early. Is it better to be late?

Columnist Dennis Prager: "Appeasers hate those who confront evil. Given that this president is the least likely of any president in American history to confront evil – or even identify it – while Benjamin Netanyahu is particularly vocal and eloquent about both identifying and confronting evil, it is inevitable that the former will resent the latter. ... [T]hose who refused to characterize the Soviet Union as evil loathed Ronald Reagan and other anti-communists for doing so; and those who objected to the 'Axis of Evil' label placed on North Korea, Iran, and Iraq loathed George W. Bush and his supporters. The loathing of Benjamin Netanyahu is simply the latest example of the rule that those who will not confront evil will instead confront those who do. (It’s much safer, after all.) Since the end of World War II, there has been a name for the people who refuse to confront evil and who resent those who do: leftists."
 
 
+17 # Merlin 2015-03-04 13:47
Roland 2015-03-04 12:21

Hahahaha

Dennis Prager? This is a source to pay attention to? You shills are pathetic. But stick around, Roland, you do provide humor after we stop rolling our eyes.
 
 
-17 # Roland 2015-03-04 15:28
So you kmow Prager? He has more common sense than most here.
 
 
+11 # Merlin 2015-03-04 16:28
Roland 2015-03-04 15:28
"So you kmow Prager?"

No I don't know him personally, if that is the silly question you are asking. However, I am old enough to have heard and read more about him than I care to remember. Prager is a joke, and if it is one thing he doesn't have it is common sense. He actually has about as much as you do, now that I think about it.

BTW what does "kmow" mean? Is this a new word from you righties? You know, I gotta keep up with all the latest lingo so I'm "in the know."

If its a new word, you should consider getting a patent on it. Its all the rage right now! Patent "sayings" along with anything else these professional litigants think they can make money off. Hey! You could get rich!

BTW, you can expect my bill in the mail for consultation expertise on patents and such.
 
 
-15 # Roland 2015-03-04 18:00
I question whether someone from the left, with your above opinion of him, would expose themselves to him enough to know, who he is and what opinions he expresses. Since, many on this site seem to not to have any information, which contradicts with the left’s talking points, that seems like a reasonable question.

Regardless, what is wrong with the above quote other than the fact that you don’t like Prager.
 
 
+12 # Radscal 2015-03-04 15:12
"Maybe, he realized the longer the world waits to enforce UN regulations, the harder it will be."

That is clearly true. By ignoring UN Resolutions since 1949, Israel has made it nearly impossible to imagine a sovereign state of Palestine. Likud, the Home Party and Netanyahu himself are securing the Zionist goal of "Fulfilling 1948," and expanding Greater Israel.

The only question is will they be satisfied once they annex all of Palestine, Lebanon and Syria, or will they continue to expand the the "Promised Land" from the Euphrates to the Nile?
 
 
-14 # Roland 2015-03-04 15:32
Are you willing to be consistent? If you think that something should have been done about Israel before they got this strong, then I assume you think we should have done something about Iran by now. That is unless you think it would be fine for Iran to have the bomb.
 
 
+13 # Radscal 2015-03-04 15:49
I had a very dear friend who was imprisoned and tortured by SAVAK during the CIA's Shah's reign of terror.

Then, after the meddling of Carter and Reagan allowed the Ayatollah to hijack the popular democratic-soci alist revolution, the Islamic Republic arrested and tortured her as well.

Had we not meddled with Iran's politics by overthrowing their democratic-soci alist government in 1953 and then undermining their democratic-soci alist revolution in 1979, Iran and the world would be better places.

I abhor the Islamic Republic of Iran, but I in no way consider it a threat to the peace and security of the region anywhere close to the actual record of the Jewish State of Israel in the Levant (JSIL).

To this day, Iran's society is far more modern and secular than our and Israel's allies such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and now Libya. If the US and its UN chose to welcome Iran into the international community, there is no reason to doubt that the people of Iran would respond by voting in ever-more modern and secular governments.
 
 
-9 # BKnowswhitt2 2015-03-04 22:30
Yeah but it's still run by Mullahs and it is not a democracy politically it is a theocracy with a crazy and extreme radical side. Though your historical references are accurate the question should be Why do they want NUkes? Is that because they intend peace and tranquility and the argument you offer enlivens their right to do so now based on that past history. If and when and it's only a matter of when they do acquire .. will that be a good thing? Better to stop it now then find out i think. Syria tried and our Black Ops found out and Israel wiped it off the map. That leader hated Israel. Last 'leader' of Iran denied the Holocaust and all that Hitler did. Are those the guys we let have The Weapon unimpeded? I say much as we don't like it Israel's and USA policies and politics very necessarily intertwined on this matter .. I have no problem with N' standing his ground and I don't think that he is crying Wolf not one bit ..
 
 
+8 # Radscal 2015-03-05 00:27
1. Yes. The Islamic Republic has a supreme leader who can and on some occasions has overruled the democratically- elected government. Overall though, it is a democratic republic. In fact, Iranian Jews are full citizens, unlike most of the Muslims and Christians living under Israeli control.

2. They state they have no program to develop nuclear weapons and the IAEC, UN, CIA and Mossad all agree.

3. Even if they started such a program today, it would take them at least a year to develop a single nuclear bomb, and a decade or longer to have enough of them to be a threat.

4. Even if they did build enough nuclear weapons to threaten Israel or Saudi Arabia or whomever you imagine they would target, it would be instant suicide considering both Israel and the U.S. would annihilate them after their attack failed to get through the air defenses of those countries. Despite the propaganda you may be reading, Iranians are not suicidal.

3. The rest of your post is paranoid ramblings.
 
 
-5 # BKnowswhitt2 2015-03-05 12:04
Keep drinking the Koolade er eating the Mushrooms! Real Paranoids have been some of the leaders in the Middle East current and past .. and let me assure you I am not one ..
 
 
+4 # John S. Browne 2015-03-05 03:54
#

Quoting Roland:
"...How many times has the IAEA found violations by Iran? What has anyone done about this? So maybe he was early. Is it better to be late?..."


Until relatively recently, the IAEA said time and time again that Iran does NOT have a nuclear weapons program. Now, without any evidence supporting it, and contradicting inspections that they've made where they've found NOTHING, they are saying what the Israeli government and military, and the U.S. government and military Israeli-support ing sycophants (better said, "sicko-phants" {like yourself and all of your kind}) want, lying about Iran's nuclear program [which is, and has always been, ONLY the fulfillment of their legal right(s) under international law to create a functioning nuclear ENERGY, NOT NUCLEAR WEAPONS, program].

So, enough of ALL of your lies and attempted-decep tions here, shill-troll.

#
 
 
+2 # dsepeczi 2015-03-05 11:41
Quoting Roland:
His time line has been off. Maybe, he realized the longer the world waits to enforce UN regulations, the harder it will be. It is too hard now. 10, 15, 20 years ago a strike on their facilities would have been easier. Now Iran doesn't consider it a viable threat, which is why they are operating in this fashion.

How many times has the IAEA found violations by Iran? What has anyone done about this? So maybe he was early. Is it better to be late?

Columnist Dennis Prager: "Appeasers hate those who confront evil. Given that this president is the least likely of any president in American history to confront evil – or even identify it – while Benjamin Netanyahu is particularly vocal and eloquent about both identifying and confronting evil, it is inevitable that the former will resent the latter. ... [T]hose who refused to characterize the Soviet Union as evil loathed Ronald Reagan and other anti-communists for doing so; and those who objected to the 'Axis of Evil' label placed on North Korea, Iran, and Iraq loathed George W. Bush and his supporters. The loathing of Benjamin Netanyahu is simply the latest example of the rule that those who will not confront evil will instead confront those who do. (It’s much safer, after all.) Since the end of World War II, there has been a name for the people who refuse to confront evil and who resent those who do: leftists."


His timing will always be off .... because it's bullshit. Even CIA and Mossad agree.
 
 
+16 # Activista 2015-03-04 13:14
...Netanyahu delivered before Congress in 1996 in which he warned a nuclear-armed Iran was imminent. In Tuesday's speech, he said very similar things, though in the 1996 speech, he also predicted that if Saddam Hussein regime fell, it would likely promote stability in the region ...
 
 
+17 # Activista 2015-03-04 13:23
I am predicting that if Netanyaho regime fells, it would likely promote stability in the region ...
Only nuclear terrorist state in the region is Israel - attacking their neighbors, occupying more and more land - behaving like the nazists in 1940.
 
 
+10 # Capn Canard 2015-03-04 19:48
Netanyahu is a one trick pony. And trotts out the same sad old story: "We, the Zionists, are the true and only Jews who are oppressed for being Jews. We face an existential threat. An EXISTENTIAL THREAT!"

You can't make this sh!t up. It is all a massive deception.
 
 
+5 # futhark 2015-03-05 02:36
Netanyahu has no legal or ethical basis for complaining about possible nuclear weapons development in Iran. He needs to clean up his own country's act before griping about his bad neighbors.

The truth about Israel's secret nuclear arsenal

Israel has been stealing nuclear secrets and covertly making bombs since the 1950s. And western governments, including Britain and the US, turn a blind eye. But how can we expect Iran to curb its nuclear ambitions if the Israelis won't come clean?

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/15/truth-israels-secret-nuclear-arsenal
 
 
+1 # John S. Browne 2015-03-05 03:54
#

(Sorry, I wrongly placed a reply in the wrong place, and then removed it to place it where it belongs.)

#
 

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