Prime Minister Netanyahu's Speech at the INSS Annual Conference (Excerpts)

January 28, 2014

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear
  • Missile


With regard to Iran, although there is internal dissent in Iran about the allocation of resources – how much comes in, how much goes out – there is no dissension in the Iranian regime, which continues to be controlled by Ayatollah Khamanei. There is no dissension, first about its aspirations to obtain military nuclear capability and there is also no dissension regarding the goal of erasing the State of Israel from the Earth. They say it all the time domestically of course, and occasionally also internationally.

As a result of the pressure of the sanctions regime, which we were an active party in leading, Iran reached two situations: on the one hand, it advanced its nuclear program; while on the other it suffered more and more sanctions and at a certain point, it came very close to producing fissile material for its nuclear program. But as a result of the pressure from the sanctions, and later on the Geneva agreement, it remains very close to nuclear weapons.

When I say, "remains close to nuclear weapons", it must be understood that there are three stations when producing nuclear weapons, in manufacturing the fissile material needed for nuclear weapons: producing enriched uranium at a level of 3.5%, uranium enriched to 20% and finally a quick jump to uranium enriched to 90%, which is the level needed for a weapon.

What the Iranians did, and this is what the agreement determined, is that they would return the train to the first station, but at the same time, they are upgrading the engine and strengthening it so that they will be able to break through all at once, without any stations in the middle, straight to 90%.

The agreement made in Geneva is not a good agreement – it is a bad agreement. In our estimation, this agreement delayed Iran by six weeks – no more – from where they were before, and therefore the test was and remains the final agreement, if such an agreement is achieved, to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons capability.

Of course Iran is trying to fool the West; it makes all kinds of statements and claims. You heard Rouhani in Davos recently. He said, for example, that they object to any intervention in Syria at a time when they are up to their necks in Syria. In fact, they are propping up Assad's regime. They actively participate in the mass slaughter there. He said they object to harming the innocent; in Iran hundreds of people every year are executed. Most of them are innocent, including dozens of people who were hung there last week. You would undoubtedly define most of them as innocent. They were executed.

He speaks of free access to technology; that's what Rouhani said in Davos at a time when Iran is denying its citizens to surf on the internet freely. And of course, he repeated his statement that Iran does not seek to obtain nuclear weapons, that it only wants nuclear power for peaceful purposes. Iran has directly invested at least 40 billion dollars in its nuclear facilities and nuclear program, and an additional 140 billion dollars as the cost of the sanctions. A country does not invest nearly 200 billion dollars in nuclear energy for peaceful purposes when it is so rich in other sources of natural energy. So clearly, and everyone understands this, I must say – the entire world understands this, even those who smile back at the smiles they receive. Everyone understands that Iran wants and aspires to acquire nuclear weapons, and we will only support an agreement that guarantees the complete dismantling of Iran's infrastructure and capabilities for military nuclear weapons.

Amos, I heard you say here that you do not sleep at night and that the Iranian issue occupies your thoughts: I can promise you that you can sleep a little better because this issue occupies my thoughts every day, all day. Another thing I can promise all of you: we will not let Iran develop its capability to produce nuclear weapons. This was and remains Israel's policy.

Now of course the Iranian threat is not just an unconventional threat; it is also a conventional threat which mainly focuses on missiles and rockets brought to the Iranian enclave which surrounds us, in an attempt to strangle us from two sides, from Lebanon and from Gaza. And of course, we will deal with this separately. I do not wish to say too much about this other than to say that we want to ensure that in the political negotiations with the Palestinians, we achieve two goals: one, we don't want, I don't want a binational state. I think that in this, I reflect the will of most citizens of Israel. And second, we do not want another country to be established here under Iran's sponsorship that fires missiles and rockets at us or that launches terror attacks on us. We need to achieve both these goals, not just one of them – both of them.