Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Thursday exhorted the United Nations to ensure that Iran, whose leader he described as a "Holocaust denier," never acquires nuclear weapons.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the 64th United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New York, the United States, Sept. 24, 2009, on the second day of the general debate of the assembly.[Shen Hong/Xinhua]
"A mere six decades after the Holocaust, you give legitimacy to a man who denies that the murder of six million Jews took place and pledges to wipe out the Jewish State," Netanyahu told the annual general debate of the UN General Assembly, referring to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The current Iranian leadership, the Israeli prime minister said, is fueled by an extreme fundamentalism, imposing a "backward regimented society" wherever it can.
The greatest threat to the world today is "the marriage between religious fanaticism and the weapons of mass destruction," he said.
As a result, the most pressing challenging for the UN is "to prevent the tyrants of Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons," he said.
"Will the international community confront a despotism that terrorizes its own people as they bravely stand up for freedom?" he asked.
The desire of all of Israel for peace was manifested in the country's unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, at the expense of uprooting more than 8,000 Israelis, Netanyahu said.
"We didn't get peace," he said. "Instead we got an Iranian-backed terror base 50 miles from Tel Aviv," with the Palestinian group Hamas increasing their rocket attacks against Israeli towns and cities by tenfold.
In response, "the UN was silent," he said.
Despite the recent conflict in Gaza, he voiced hope that peace can be achieved.
"But only if we roll back the forces of terror, led by Iran, that seek to destroy peace, eliminate Israel and overthrow the world order," he said. "The question facing the international community is whether it is prepared to confront those forces or accommodate them."
Iran has defended its nuclear activities, saying that to possess a peaceful nuclear technology is Iranians' inalienable and legal right.
(Xinhua News Agency September 25, 2009)